Thousands to gather as individuals before God in day of prayer
Thousands of people of all denominations are being called to pack into the massive show jumping arena at Balmoral Park.
It is a typically bustling and vibrant space when it hosts the north's largest agricultural show - but on this day those gathered will barely make a sound.
The interdenominational Divine Healing Ministries (DHM) is inviting all to a special day of prayer "for our land to help people find God's peace".
The event will be held on Saturday September 17 at Balmoral Park, Maze Long Kesh and is open to everyone.
People are being encouraged to come as individuals before God on that day - to lay down their own personal burdens from the past, to forgive those who have hurt them, to say sorry where they may have hurt other people, and to pray for the future of the north.
The prayer will take place in the show jumping arena, which is about 150 yards long and has a beautiful grassy surface.
In the very centre there will be a large plain wooden cross.
People will enter through one gate, spend time with God for as long as they wish, and then go out through another gate at the far end of the arena.
This special day of prayer is the vision of Billy Moore, a lay-reader in Lisburn Cathedral who is responsible for the outreach work in the Hillhall Estate.
Billy and Dean Sam Wright asked DHMinistries to organise the whole event.
DHM itself has recently completed seven years of prayer "for the renewal and revival of the faith in this land".
Brother David Jardine from DHM said the group saw this event as a natural continuation of all those years of prayer.
Br David is a Church of Ireland clergyman and also a member of the Society of St Francis, a religious community in the Anglican Church. He is a former chaplain in Crumlin Road Prison, Belfast and worked in two churches in New York.
Along with a group of others Br David founded DHM in 1992. Since then, on an interdenominational basis they have been praying for the healing of individuals.
"We trust that through the time that people spend in prayer they will be helped to find the peace of God. We hear a lot of talk about dealing with the past; seldom do we hear any talk about God or forgiveness, yet this dimension is absolutely vital," he said.
"There will probably be many other stages on the journey, but we will allow the Lord to guide us one step at a time. Many people in our country are still hurting deeply from experiences during the Troubles. This day of prayer is an attempt to help everyone to find the peace of God. People may come and go they please."
The site at Maze/Long Kesh was chosen, Br David, added, because it belonged to everybody
"The vision is very clear. It is four fold. First to lay down the burdens from the past, to forgive those who have hurt them, to say sorry where they may have hurt other people, and to pray for the future of our country," he said.
"In our efforts to deal with the past there are two themes that are not mentioned often enough - God and forgiveness. We need to bring them very much into the frame. The concept of forgiveness is difficult for many people, although there are some glorious examples of forgiveness.
"We won't be telling people what to do. That is between them and God. It is very non-judgmental. People will come as individuals, they don't come representing anybody. We are hoping that everybody - all shades of opinion - will come, and that will include former paramilitaries."
:: The hours of prayer will be 9am to 6pm on Saturday, September 17.