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Forty Days of Prayer 2018 will kick off Monday in El Dorado with a community prayer circle in the lobby of City Hall.

El Dorado City Council Member Judy Ward, who was instrumental in launching the local 40 Days event three years ago, is encouraging those who plan to attend to bring at least five people with them to participate.

“We’re going to hold hands and pray. This is the fourth annual, and we want this to be the largest and most successful ever,” Ward said.

The annual event began in El Dorado in response to the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy.

In July 2015, Comesico T. Pumphrey was caught in the crossfire of a dispute between a group of men, who opened fire nearly two blocks from where the boy stood in his grandmother’s front yard.

Forty Days is a coordinated effort to promote peace and unity, with spiritual support from all corners of the community.

The 2018 campaign will be held Oct. 1 - Nov. 9. Area residents who wish to participate are asked to focus on a different prayer topic each day.

Prayer topics — supported by Biblical scriptures, observations and suggested prayers — have been submitted by volunteers and will be disseminated throughout the community each day via social media, the El Dorado News-Times, area churches, word-of-mouth and other outlets.

On day one, participants will be asked to give thanks for the avenue of prayer.

Other topics include peace in the community, nation and world; marriage and families; school safety and educators; those living in poverty; first responders; government leaders; addiction; homelessness; and the upcoming General Election.

Day 17 will be dedicated to student athletes on the same day as the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Fields of Faith.

Fields is a youth-led event in which students “invite, pray for, share with, and challenge their peers to read the Bible and follow Jesus Christ” with an athletic field serving as a neutral rally point for participants.

The 15th annual event is set for Oct. 17 in El Dorado. Details are forthcoming. Fields of Faith is traditionally held at Memorial Stadium.

For the first time, El Dorado and the city of Camden, which also hosts a 40 Days event, will partner by aligning their event schedules and prayer topics, which will be specific to each city.

A prayer walk is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 7 in El Dorado.

The walk typically draws a sizable crowd that moves to different stations for prayer and culminates at the Union County Courthouse for a gathering that includes more prayer and fellowship.

Kent Jobe, senior minister of College Avenue Church of Christ, said the walk will follow its usual route.

“We’ll go from the (El Dorado Police Department) to City Hall to the (El Dorado School District administrative office building) and then to the courthouse,” Jobe said, adding, “We’re still working on the lineup (of prayer leaders).”

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or [email protected]

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