In many ways, it was a typical rock concert — loud and raucous with energetic teens crowded around the stage in a darkened room.

But something was different: the message.

“Come on, let’s hear it for God tonight,” youth pastor Rob Elder yelled into the microphone, while the young people cheered and clapped. “I’m excited about what God is doing in your generation.”

About 80 junior and senior high school students from across the county and western Indiana sang and swayed Wednesday night at the first youth prayer rally in association with the National Day of Prayer, which is today.

The gathering at Danville Area Community College’s Bremer Theater was sponsored by the United Front youth pastors’ group and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The purpose was to worship God and pray for the leaders of schools, the nation and the world.

“We’ve got a room full of young people who love God. Isn’t that cool?” Doug Hummer, youth pastor at The Edge, asked the cheering crowd.

Laura Williams, FCA area representative, cajoled the teens: “Do you think you can make a difference? Can you guys imagine how you’re going to turn this county around because you dared to come here tonight, you dared to pray? You guys are awesome.

“You guys should be proud.”

Several teens said before the rally that they enjoy worshipping — no matter what their peers might think.

If someone criticizes her for praying in public, Emily Halls, 13, has a comeback: “You don’t know what you’re missing.”

Sister Rebecca Halls, 12, agreed.

“I like worshipping. I believe what I believe,” she said.

Both are students at Bismarck-Henning Junior High.

“It’s fun to worship,” Flyn Williams, 14, a Danville High freshman, said, adding she planned to sing and dance that night. “It’s going to be really fun.”

Mallory Williams, 17, a junior at Danville High, and Dalton Halls, 16, a junior at Bismarck-Henning High School, belong to the year-old praise band at Central Christian Church. Dalton plays guitar, while Mallory sings.

“Music is a big part of my life,” Dalton said. “It’s a great way to worship. It brings people closer.”

“It’s one way we show our faith,” Mallory said. “You don’t have to be afraid to worship because no one will judge you (at the rally).”

The Zion Project band from the Rock Church got the teens clapping and jumping with its music. Many showed their exuberance at the front of the stage, while others stayed seated, swinging their legs in time with the beat. A screen above the stage showed the words.

Between songs, a handful of young people came on stage to pray — that they’d change the world as missionaries, that they would unite as a county, that they’d spread the word of God, that everyone would know the glory of God, that today’s generation will stand up for its faith.

Shannon Juvinall, a junior at Danville High, prayed that people would look to the Bible for guidance — not to Hollywood or television programs.

Elder, youth pastor at the Rock Church, said there’s enough energy, passion and prayers in the teens’ hearts waiting to be released to change the nation.

“On behalf of the youth pastors, we believe in you,” he said. “I’m excited to see you guys worship God.”

Today, prayer rallies will take place at various schools throughout the county. FCA huddles and area youth pastors will lead events at their schools.

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