Columbus offers up prayer for rain

Calling for a "miracle," more than 60 people gathered on the steps of the Columbus Govenment Center Tuesday at noon and prayed for "supernatural rain to fall."

Preachers from different faiths asked for the rain in a 15-minute service that was inspired when Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue called for the state's faith leaders to meet in Atlanta and pray for an end to the drought on the steps of the Capitol.

Rev. Sharon Billins could not make it to the Atlanta service, so Sunday she called Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington and asked for permission to organize a local service.

The service was opened by Walter Lunsford of Shofarot Ministries with 23 blasts from a ram's horn, a symbolic gesture to prepare for prayer.

Billins then got to the point. She read from James, Chapter 5. The scripture reads: "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain. And the earth produced its fruit."

"As we pray in one accord — the faith leaders of this community — the rains will come down like Elijah demanded," Billins said.

Ten ministers offered prayers under a beautiful sky with high clouds.

Larry Biggers of Northside Chapel said we were "humbled" by the lack of rain and "desperate."

"Shake the heavens and bring forth the rain," he said.

The state is in a historic drought that Perdue says is threatening Atlanta's drinking water supply. He has ordered 61 counties — including Muscogee and Harris — to cut their water consumption by 10 percent.

Rev. Hal Brady of St. Luke United Methodist Church said, "we arrive here not as a last resort, but as a privilege."