CRESTVIEW — The Rev. George Thomas sent a message from his heart Wednesday morning to all healthcare workers at the North Okaloosa Medical Center.
With his right hand raised above his head, Thomas prayed that God would "Let them know what they are doing is not in vain."
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Thomas is the pastor of Peoples Missionary Baptist Church. On Wednesday, he and five other Crestview Prayer Network members led about 70 people in prayer at the network’s "Praying in the Parking Lot" event behind the medical center.
With their prayers and signs, such as one that read, "We love you" and "Not all heroes wear capes," the network members praised and hoped to inspire the healthcare workers as they serve during the COVID-19 crisis. Prayers also were given for the medical center’s patients and their loved ones.
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Thomas asked God to bless the center’s doctors, nurses and other employees with wisdom and protect them.
"You are the healer, Lord God," he said. "You are the prince of peace, God. We stand on your word today, God."
The medical center’s administrators worked with the Crestview Prayer Network to have the event take place around the lunch hour so several employees could participate.
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"I want to lift up the families of the first responders," Suzanne Bennett, a member of The Fellowship Hall Church of the Nazarene, said during her prayer on Wednesday. "They keep the candle burning. Lord, I want you to comfort them."
Following the "Praying in the Parking Lot" event, network members prayed and held their signs of encouragement while they walked around the perimeter of the hospital. They then divided into three groups and said prayers while visiting the Shoal Creek Rehabilitation Center, Silvercrest Health and Rehabilitation Center and Crestview Rehabilitation Center.
Established last November by Lifepoint Church member Glenda Gordon, the Crestview Prayer Network unites local churches in monthly focused prayer for the city of Crestview. The network has representatives from 32 churches of various denominations.
They previously have joined together to pray for city officials, first responders, schools and businesses, according to Gordon.
Wednesday’s efforts marked the first time the network has prayed specifically for the healthcare community.
"It’s a good opportunity to let the hospital and the healthcare community know that we care about them and appreciate what they do," Gordon said.
The Crestview Prayer Network meets at noon on the first Wednesday of each month at David’s Catfish Restaurant, 1296 N. Ferdon Blvd. During the meetings, different guests share their prayer needs, and members choose the prayer focus for the next month.
For more information, call Gordon at 850-572-5962.