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Adults and children stood quietly as seven pastors from around the metro took turns invoking God’s wisdom and guidance during a prayer vigil at Oklahoma’s State Capitol in Oklahoma City Sunday night.

Candles came out as the last light of the day turned to darkness with the newly-lit south entry of the Capitol building as a backdrop.

Prayer Vigil teacher walkout praying
Crowd of hundreds prays silently as Derrek Belase leads. BRETTDICKERSON/OKCFreePress

The scene was in sharp contrast to the rousing daytime activities of loud music and cheers of the five-day protest over education funding that has become a truly historic sight.

Protests both outside and inside the Capitol went beyond the standing record of four days in 1990 over all-to-similar issues of low teacher pay, large class sizes, and underfunded classrooms.

Each pastor brought their own unique view of the situation and used a wide variety of scriptures.

The common thread was one of calling for wisdom and a prayerful concern for the students and teachers of the state.

The body language of those in attendance seemed to show the seriousness of the situation as protesting teachers, administrators, parents, and students prepare to come to the Capitol for an unprecedented sixth day of demonstrations Monday.

Prayer walk

The vigil closed with a quiet “prayer walk” around the Capitol, a sharp contrast to the loud, sign-carrying protesters of the last five days who have been encircling the building carrying signs and chanting.

The crowd was instructed to pray for a different group affected by education concerns as they made their way around each side of the building.

One of the faith leaders asked that as they walked around the east side of the building they pray for the teachers, and on the north side, to pray for the administrators, on the west side to pray for the Legislators and the Governor.

Finally, he asked that as they come back around to the south side, they pray for the students.

Parent concerns

Free Press talked with Tricia Bryant as she started on the Prayer Walk around the Capitol with others.

We wanted to know how important she thought the focus on education this week has been.

“It’s very important. My mom’s a teacher and I see her struggling to get her kids and classroom and school stuff,” she said. “I think that’s unfair.”

But there was another reason for her being there Sunday.

“I’m also a parent. I think that our children deserve more,” Bryant said.

Prayer Vigil teacher walkout one candle
The prayer vigil ended with candles and glow sticks being lit. BRETTDICKERSON/OKCFreePress

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