OGDEN -- Positive change -- in various aspects of the nation -- was the focus Thursday as 50 people met with a dozen church leaders to pray on the steps of the Ogden Municipal Building.
Church leaders prayed for education, families, business, government, local churches, media, military, judicial systems, financial needs, addictions and an end to abortion.
Those gathered recognized Thursday as National Day of Prayer. The day is a 61-year tradition for those who have observed it.
"We pray that our nation would continue as a nation that loves you and seeks after you," prayed the Rev. Tom Koehler, of Alpine Church.
Koehler asked God to strengthen education.
"The family is the core of our society," prayed Pastor Mark Gomez, from Calvary Chapel Wasatch Front. "If anything is to break and ruin the rest, it will start at the family."
Included in the service were the reading of proclamations by both Ogden City officials and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert acknowledging the day as important.
Neil Garner, chairman of the Ogden City Council, read Ogden's proclamation, recognizing that the United States is rich in cultural diversity and home to millions of residents who appeal to a higher being.
"A day of prayer is an important part of humanity," stated the proclamation.
It also stated that prayer "speaks of hope, peace and love to others."
Pastor Greg Johnson, director of Standing Together Ministries, an evangelical ministry across the Wasatch Front that supported the effort, read Herbert's proclamation.
"Prayer is a fundamental part of our national heritage," he read. "The National Day of Prayer has become a unifying force."
"We have a greater proclamation, that Jesus Christ is Lord of Ogden, Utah," said Pastor Jeremiah Johnson, of Canyon Road Assembly of God, as he prayed for local churches. "We ask that we unite under the banner of Jesus Christ."
Another prayer for business asked that merchants honor God with their efforts and choice of products.
Similar prayers for the government and judicial systems asked that decision-makers turn their efforts to honoring God.
A prayer for the hungry asked that cycles of poverty be broken.
Greg Johnson prayed for the unborn babies that die every year by abortion.
"We are feeling heavy hearts that little children are not given the right to carry on in their lives," Johnson prayed. "We pray that you would forgive us for the lost lives."
Participating in the audience was Tammy Leake, executive director of the Pregnancy Care Center in Ogden. She said she appreciated that last prayer.
"I'm glad we are able to reach out to 'the least of these' in Ogden."