April 27, 2006 -- They usually pray and worship inside the confines of their own church, asking God for his wisdom and intervention. But today they took their prayers across the street from a gas station in the nation's capital and asked God to lower the rising gasoline prices that have hit the wallets of Americans all across the country.
"Certainly, it's an unorthodox approach," said Bishop Myles Spires of Abundant Life Ministries International, one of the event's organizers. "But it's a necessary approach."
The prayer service was organized by PrayLive, a group that bills itself as a 24-hour prayer line and e-church. The group brought together ministers from the Washington, D.C., area as well as concerned citizens. They say they're sick of the rising gas prices and believe it's time to ask God to step in.
"This is a serious occasion for a situation that is escalating above our ability to control it. We are asking God to intervene," Bishop Donald Downing from the Heart to Heart Christian Center said as he prayed.
The prayer service came a day after a group of Democratic senators held a press conference to address the pain at the pump that so many Americans feel. Lawmakers from both parties have floated competing plans to show Americans just how concerned they are.
Senate Republicans are pushing a plan that would send $100 rebate checks to millions of taxpayers. Democrats floated the idea of a 60-day suspension in the federal tax on gasoline and diesel, a reprieve they believe would cut the cost of gasoline by more than 18 cents a gallon and reduce the price of diesel fuel by more than 24 cents a gallon.
But those at the prayer service believe these measures are not enough. They say lawmakers are the reason gas prices are high in the first place, blaming them for allowing the big oil companies to charge such high amounts, while ordinary citizens literally pay the price.
"They have the power of policy and the power to reach the media," Bishop Jeremiah Hackley Kingdom Culture International Fellowship said of the lawmakers.
"They can affect change and influence change in the private sector. The real problem is that their relationship with the people has been severed and they only care about their relationship with the rich and powerful. But the people who suffer are at the bottom of the ladder, the people who can't afford the higher gas prices."
Organizers of the rally today said they hope the event will spark a nationwide movement of people praying and asking God to intervene in the rising price of gas."Though many of us have different faiths and different religions, we need to come together and pray and ask for a miracle from God," said Pastor Yusef Fletcher of Greater Works International Church.