Daily photo by Melanie Smith|
Brenda Wallace, standing, leads a prayer for rain at Courtland Presbyterian Church. Many believe a miracle is needed to end the drought affecting 37 Alabama counties, including Lawrence.
At Courtland prayer meeting, God asked to send rain as drought threatens area crops
'We fall on our knees for help'
By Melanie B. Smith
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COURTLAND — Row after row of cotton in dusty fields not far from Courtland Presbyterian Church stood only a few inches tall. Corn was just knee high.
Kenny Posey, standing in the back of the church sanctuary Friday, said his corn in Colbert and Lawrence counties is stunted, too. He said he was grateful that it survived April's hard freeze that killed so many crops.
"We pulled through that, and now we are dealing with this," he said of the drought. Gov. Bob Riley issued a drought warning for 37 North Alabama counties, including Lawrence.
Like about three dozen other people at the church near midday, Posey had come to pray for rain. He said this was his first time to plant corn instead of all cotton.
Retired farmer Hood Harris Jr. of the Courtland church said he talked to his pastor a week ago about calling such a prayer meeting.
"I believe in God, and I believe in miracles," he said.
He and others said a miracle is needed. Weather forecasters are not predicting any drenching rains for the next week. The Decatur-Huntsville area is 16.41 inches below normal for the year, according to the National Weather Service, making it the driest year-to-date period on record for the area.
The Weather Service said Friday that the drought in the central Tennessee Valley was on the verge of moving to "exceptional" from "extreme."
The Rev. William Cooper, pastor of Courtland Presbyterian, told the people who came to pray that they should humble themselves before God, believing and not doubting that he can do anything.
In his prayer, Cooper noted that science and technology can only do so much.
"We can only watch as crops die," he prayed. "We fall on our knees for help."
Another minister, the Rev. Billy Turner of Courtland United Methodist Church, pleaded for "fresh, healing rain," recalling that corn should be head high by now.
John Dupes of Dallas, in town for a reunion, said God holds oceans in the hollow of his hand.
"Lord, this is a large thing. There are lives and families dependent on it," he prayed.
No forecaster is in charge of the weather, the Rev. Sam Wallace of Courtland Baptist Church reminded supplicants.
"May the power of God come down," he prayed.
Like others, he didn't forget to pray for other communities also in drought.
For more than an hour the voices raised, thanking God for blessings, repenting from sin, appealing for help — and recalling the Bible promise that God works good from bad for those who love him.
Afterward, Price Counts Jr. of Leighton said his corn, soybeans and cotton are badly hurting for moisture. His waist-high corn should be shoulder high, he said. Counts had joined a closing circle of prayer, his left hand gripping that of another worshipper while firmly clasping his farm cap.
In some Tennessee Valley communities on Friday, light showers fell. Friday's chance of rain was 10 percent. In Courtland, a community that Cooper said is dependent on farming, there wasn't rain, yet.
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