About 20 area residents attended a Community Prayer and Social Gathering on Saturday, Dec. 27 to pray for better times in the New Year.

About 20 area residents attended a Community Prayer and Social Gathering on Saturday, Dec. 27 to pray for better times in the New Year.

Their prayer requests were for themselves, their loved ones and the world, said Pastor Lula Cooper, current leader for the 41-year-old Community Pentecostal Church of God located on Gun and Rod Road in Houston.

Cooper has headed the church since its founder, her husband Bishop John W. Cooper, died in 1995. The state of the world inspired her to hold Saturday’s prayerfest, she said.

“When I see the condition of this world, there’s so much violence,” Cooper said in an interview. “I think it’s time for prayer for the whole world. ... These prayers aren’t just for the United States; they’re for the whole world. Sometimes we get a little discouraged, but we need to pray.”

Cooper prayed out loud for holiday vacationers to return home safely, and she prayed for God to touch the hearts of people who lost loved ones during a Christmas shooting in California, a deadly fire in Philadelphia and the recent attack in India.

She asked God to comfort nursing home residents, the sick and shut-in, addicts battling their personal demons and people who are mired in being deceptive towards others.

“We ask you to bless and touch them all, as we ask you to bless and touch us,” Cooper said, concluding her prayer.

Victoria Harris of Harrington, a former church member, said she returned for Saturday’s prayer service to pray for herself, her family and her business. In particular, she was sending up a prayer for an elderly son and mother she recently visited who didn’t have any heat to warm their home.

“I was praying for souls to be saved,” Harris said. “I asked God to bless my business so I can prosper and help others.”

Prayer, Harris said, is a powerful force that can fix what seems unfixable.

“You’ve got to give it to God; let go and let God,” she said.

Barbara Barner of Houston, who played piano during the prayer eservice, said she was sending out a special prayer for the people at Hertage at Milford, where she volunteers to play soothing music for residents.

“Going there lets you know how blessed you are,” Barner said. “I’m praying for the caregivers who take care of people who can’t help themselves. They help the helpless to persevere. But for the grace of God, it could be us. When we have good health, we think we are invincible.

“So, we just pray,” she continued wistfully, hopefully. “We pray for the world. Just pray.”

Services at Community Pentacostal Church are held on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:15 p.m. Sunday school starts at 10 a.m. For more information about the church, call 331-5091