Local military mom encouraging prayer, fasting for troops Nov. 5
In addition to sending letters and care packages to servicemen and women deployed in the Middle East, people of faith in the Eudora community are asked to offer up their prayers as well.
Betty Thoennes is inviting Eudorans to participate in a day of prayer and fasting Nov. 5 in honor of military personnel.
"My son is a Marine in Iraq right now," Thoennes said. "We're all concerned and kind of anticipating that the hostility will increase with the election coming up in Iraq in January."
Thoennes said she was organizing the event for Nov. 5 because it was the first Friday after she dreamed up the idea. And the first Friday of the month is a special day of prayer and penance for Roman Catholics, she said.
Thoennes said she was inspired by a day of prayer Abraham Lincoln declared during the Civil War "to bring peace to a very war-torn nation." She also remembered as a child hearing Bishop Fulton Sheen say in a speech that if for one day all the people in nursing homes and hospitals offered up their suffering they could work toward the conversion of the world.
"Fasting is suffering of a kind," Thoennes said. "A lot of the people say, 'We're praying for peace.' When you fast, you're praying with your body and soul."
Although many people think of fasting as abstaining from all sustenance but water, Thoennes said fasting could mean a lot of things.
"Even the young and old and sick can participate," she said.
Fasting could mean eating one full meal and two half-meals, or giving up a favorite food or beverage for a day.
"It means depriving our sensual appetite of something we like; it has to hurt, in other words," she said.
However, those fasting need to take into account what is healthy for them, she said.
"You want to be sensible," she said.
Although Thoennes is reaching out to area churches to spread the word, she said prayer didn't have to take place in the sanctuary.
"Prayer and fasting is something very individual," she said. "You go about your normal business."
Thoennes said she knew other Eudorans had family members overseas as well.
"We're trying to spread this as far and wide as possible," she said. "As a mother (of a soldier) one often feels helpless. But this is something I could do. This is how I help."