Big Turnouts for Day of Prayer, Despite Controversy

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The National Day of Prayer went on as planned, Thursday, despite a number of objections including claims that the day violates the separation of church and state.

A number of prayers echoed from inside the halls of the Capitol, calling on the power of God to bless the country, give wisdom to its leaders, and protect the men and women of the U.S. military.

"Our nation is who it is today, our nation is as strong as it is today, because of the faith that we have," Democratic Rep. Lincoln Davis said.

Click play for John Jessup's report, followed by more on the National Day of Prayer events and controversy surrounding the day with Michael Calhoun of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.

Also, watch an interview with Regent University president Carlos Campo here on why it's important to pray for the nation.

This year's prayer events took on a defiant tone after opponents threw up several roadblocks, including a recent federal judge's ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

Rev. Franklin Graham -- son of evangelist Billy Graham and honorary National Day of Prayer chairman -- led the main event at the Capitol, Thursday.

Graham said he didn't want to be offensive, but as a minister of the gospel, could only pray and preach based on the Bible. He gave a message about the leper who asked Jesus for healing.

"The only hope that he had was the Lord Jesus Christ," Graham said. "No hope apart from the shed blood of Jesus Christ."

Graham highlighted how the country's religious heritage is giving way to moral decay, from adultery to abortion, and children not respecting their parents.

Earlier Thursday, he prayed privately with his family outside the Pentagon. Graham had been at the center of the National Day of Prayer controversy after the military withdrew an invitation for him to pray at their event because of his past comments on Islam.

The flap, however, drove many to come out and support this year's event.

"I'm encouraged to pray more," student attendee Josiah Twiddy said. "I mean, I often forget to pray for my country. I'm just forgetful in that way."

Graham said his prayer is for America to be made whole just like the leper who was healed.

"May we turn to You and worship You and acknowledge You," he said. "And live by Your laws and Your standards. God bless America."

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