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Power of prayer: Residents gather in parking lot to support healthcare workers

NATCHEZ — On Friday evening, approximately 200 cars surrounded parking lots of businesses near Merit Health Natchez to pray for the doctors, nurses and medical staff working inside to fight the spread of COVID-19.

With statewide shelter-in-place orders in effect in both Mississippi and Louisiana, people showed their support for the medical staff by staying in their cars, honking their horns and shining their headlights at Merit Health Natchez.

“I called the Natchez Police Department and did get approval,” said Bebe Ann, who organized the event. “They [Natchez Police Department] said as long as we don’t violate any of the laws; we stay in our cars and don’t gather it would be fine. Our community needed this event.”

The event, however, was not limited to just Natchez. People also gathered near hospitals in Vidalia and Ferriday to pray for the medical staffs at those facilities.

Ann said she decided to organize this event near the hospitals in the Miss-Lou after seeing a video on Facebook showing similar events happening in Georgia and Alabama.

Ann said after thinking about having the event, she made a Facebook post on March 30 talking about what she wanted to happen.

“Once it was out there, everybody was for the event and we were ready,” Ann said. “Natchez was ready to show all of our doctors, nurses and everybody who is working all throughout. We were ready to show our support and cry out to God.”

Ann was helped by Vicki Fort, who contacted Wes Faulk, pastor at First Baptist Church in Vidalia, and 104.7 FM The Gator radio station in Ferriday. Ann said the radio station in Ferriday gave her an hour of airtime for the event.

Rickie French, Shirley French and Tracy French were among of the people who parked their cars behind the McDonald’s on Sergeant Prentiss Drive on Friday.

Rickie French said he came to the event with other people who attend Springfield Baptist Church.

“We all need to be closer to God right now,” Rickie French said. “This is a time when our country is in great need of God. That’s why we gathered like we did today to bring Him back where He needs to be.”

After the event took place on Friday, Ann said she thought about having another event near the nursing homes in the Miss-Lou.

“You have to give glory to God, because He took this event and ran with it,” Ann said. “I know everything went perfect.”