Community gathers in prayer

By Mike Linn

Portales residents found comfort under a shelter of invocations on Thursday as they lifted their requests to God on the 53rd annual National Day of Prayer.
The event took place under the canopy on the town square, where prayers of protection and soft choir music drifted onto nearby Main Street.
For more than 30 minutes, barriers of denomination broke down as Baptists, Catholics and non-denominational Christians bowed heads and joined hands together in prayer.
“We may all go to different churches and be separate in that way but yet we can all unite and come together and pray for our country, and I think it breaks down a lot of barriers,” said Lemon Dotson, a picture of his military son adorning a button on his shirt.
A truck driver, Dotson said his son is in the Army and stationed in Iraq fighting a war that needed special prayer.
Mayor Orlando Ortega began the ceremony by reading a proclamation designating Thursday as a day of prayer in Portales, then proceeded to ask God for his blessings on the city, its leaders, state advocates and the country.
“It’s nice to see patriotism in our community, it’s nice to see American flags being flown every day of the year, and on this day, it is a privilege to have the freedom of public prayer,” Ortega said.
The Portales High School choir persuaded young and old to stand with renditions of the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.”
Portales police officer Diego Lucero added prayers for American security and Eastern New Mexico University coach Michael Howard asked advice from above that “we will be good husbands and wives … that we will be able to honor you in the things that we say and do with our families.”
“Without church, you’ll have no state,” Lucero said, as an American flag blew near the podium, stretching to full exposure with each gust of wind.