Lisa McFarland tapped into the emotion of about 200 people standing Friday inside the Coffin Sports Complex at Haskell Indian Nations University.
"Is Jesus Christ Lord in Lawrence?" she asked.
"Yes," they shouted.
"Is Jesus Christ Lord in Kansas?"
"Yes," they shouted again.
"Is Jesus Christ Lord in the United States of America?"
"Yes," they shouted again.
McFarland's husband, John, is the pastor at Christ Covenant Church, 2312 Harvard Road. Her speech on Friday started the more than 24-hour celebration, which drew people from several churches in Kansas. The event coincides with the National Day of Prayer.
"I open the gates of this city, of this state and this nation to our living God - Jesus Christ," she said.
McFarland and her prayer group planned the event in response to a media report in 2004 that questioned the prevalence of the church in Lawrence. The event will feature music, speakers and private rooms where people can pray.
Pomp and circumstance followed her short speech as trumpet and horn players ushered in a processional of more than 25 people carrying different flags onto the gym floor.
A praise and worship band blasted a melody as those in the bleachers stood on their feet and swayed to the music.
McFarland, whose family traces its ancestry to the Black Foot tribe, said she planned to pray for American Indian people, for issues involving the unborn and for community participation in the LEO Center, a nonprofit charitable Christian organization in Lawrence.
Booths were set up by various organizations in the hallway.
"Even though we are all different, we all worship the same Lord: Jesus Christ," McFarland said of the many denominations represented.
"I'll just be praying that the community can come together," said Terrell Session, of Ninth Street Baptist Church, 847 Ohio. "We can share that love around one another."
The threat of rain and the chilly temperatures forced the event inside from Haskell Stadium. The celebration lasted through the night and will continue with events all day today inside the gymnasium. It is open to the public, McFarland said.
A celebration service will begin at 6 p.m. today.
Joanna Beard, Lawrence, said she believes the circumstances around the event came together for a purpose.
"The focus is not about a group, but it's just about being unified as believers in the Lord and praying for unity in Lawrence and the nation," she said.
Members of various Lawrence and Kansas churches continue the more than 24-hour celebration, "Hear the Doves Cry," throughout the night to coincide with Thursday's National Day of Prayer. Events continue all day today inside the Coffin Sports Complex at Haskell Indian Nations University. All events today are open to the public, including private prayer rooms. A celebration service will begin at 6 p.m.