(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
In addition to being featured on the marquises of participating churches, there are 14 "Seek God for Our City" signs placed at major intersections and Dennis Ziegenhorn's familiar "people" signs at various other locations.
"It's a 40-day prayer campaign stimulating the community toward God to awaken people's minds, hearts and spirits," said The Rev. Ron Tate, senior pastor of the First Assembly of God Church and president of the Sikeston Area Ministerial Alliance. "The benefits of that is God promises his favor and blessings on those who seek his face. This is a tremendous benefit and blessing for our community as a whole."
The program began Feb. 21, Ash Wednesday, and will continue until Palm Sunday on April 1.
"Beginning the Monday before Palm Sunday, we'll be adding palms to all the signs," Tate said. "Our grand finale evening is going to be out at Miner Baptist Church -- we've invited the whole community to come and watch their Passion play scheduled for 6 p.m. on Palm Sunday night."
Prayers focusing on industrial, commercial, financial and residential areas of the city as well as for local schools and health services are being offered by participants during the campaign.
"All the churches have been interceding for different portions of the community," Tate said. "Our community is just being prayed for constantly. No stone has been left unturned as far as anybody being prayed for."
Daily devotional guides from WayMakers, a devotional publisher, have been appearing in the Standard Democrat along with advertisements on local radio and television stations.
These guides enable "everybody to be praying in unity," Tate said, "for our schools, community leaders, businesses and the needs in our community."
Feedback from area residents and businesses in the community has been positive, according to Tate.
"We're receiving donations from individuals saying it's the greatest thing that's ever happened in the community," he said.
Comments and requests for more information about the program have also been received from individuals and groups outside the community such as the Cape Girardeau Full Gospel Businessmen.
"They have a great interest in it as far as the inner workings and how they can implement it in their community," Tate said.
Church leaders are seeking approval from a higher power, however.
"When you put God first in the city, it's going to affect your economic base and God's blessing will be on the city," Tate said. Blessings can take the form of "more jobs, less crime rate -- it's going to be a better city to live in."
Overall, church leaders are pleased with how the program has been received.
"The campaign is gaining momentum every day and is already getting results," Tate said. "It's the first year that anything has been done like this. I imagine it will definitely be an annual thing."