With heads bowed under shared umbrellas, caps and hoods, nearly 100 Missourians prayed and sang on the south side of the Capitol during the National Day of Prayer.
Road Riders for Jesus stood behind the Trinity Lutheran School choir, sheltering the young singers dressed in red T-shirts on the brisk May day with their wide umbrellas.
Despite the rain, attendees in military camouflage, business suits or rain boots continued to pray and worship until the sound system was disconnected.
The event diverged from its planned course as they filled the Rotunda. A cappella praise songs echoed through the marble hallways and impromptu testimonies were shared by legislators who stopped by.
Earlier in the day, the ninth annual Mayor and Presiding Commissioner's breakfast drew more than 70 people, including a dozen clergy and more than a dozen elected officials.
David Griffith, director of the Capital Area Red Cross, was the guest speaker.
Raised as the son of a Methodist minister, Griffith began preaching as a teenager and attributed his parents' intentional prayers for providing him the tools to build his own relationship with God.
In the definitive moments of his life, where God was the only one to turn to, Griffith has found prayer to be essential.
Scared and stressed while on a jungle floor with the U.S. Army Special Forces, Griffith felt the spirit of God wash over him and stay throughout his watch.
"I believe that was because of my mother as a prayer warrior," Griffith said.
Serving as pastor of the
Community of Christ Church for seven years, Griffith said he again found prayer to be a huge part of his ministry.
This fall, Griffith deployed with the Red Cross to help in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy in New York City.
"What I saw was a community coming together to serve," Griffith said.
Unity was a repeated key for the congressional-designated day.
Keith Laird Smith took a vacation day to attend the National Day of Prayer events, as he does every year.
"I want to pray for my country and join with others doing so, because God is listening," Smith said. "He has chosen to use praying people to move."