Belton Councilman Dan Kirkley and Lydia Santibanez, volunteers with the Community, Alternative, Resources, and Empowerment Leadership Network, said Bell County, Texas, the nation and the world need prayer more than ever.

They pointed to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic — which has caused the deaths of 68 Bell County residents — unrest in society and the country’s hyper-partisan politics that focuses on hate as reasons for residents to pray more.

Because of that, the C.A.R.E. Leadership Network is asking residents to pray and fast Sept. 18 through Sept. 20 during the Feast of Trumpets, a Jewish and Christian celebration.

“We felt like that was a really good time to be able to do that. In Christian history, it’s one of the times when, as we say, the trumpets will sound and the dead and the Christ rise and we’ll meet the Lord in the air, as what scripture says,” Kirkley said. “We thought it was appropriate for our community to have … a call to all believers in Bell County to have a time for fasting and prayer.”

Santibanez, a local chaplain, agreed.

“These are very troubling times. We made a decision as an organization to call for a time of fasting and prayer for our community,” she said. “We are seeking God to bring healing to our land.”

Santibanez said the event is based on II Chronicles 7:14 in the Bible.

“That states, ‘If my people who are called by my name would humble themselves and seek my face and pray and turn from their wicked ways and we would hear from heaven and god would heal our land,’” she said, recalling the biblical verse. “We’re desiring for our community to come and gather together to fast and pray in the midst of all this social unrest.”

Fasting will depend on an individual person and their dietary and health needs, Kirkley said.

The idea for the fast and prayer came from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Kirkley said. In mid-July, the Louisiana Democrat called for three days of prayer and fasting for people affected by the coronavirus, according to the Catholic News Agency.

“We’re asking our friends, family and neighbors to pray and seek in God for what He would have us to do to be in unity as He would ask us to be and be united as a community and not demonstrate hate,” Kirkley said.

Faith in God, Santibanez said, will be important to get through these turbulent times.

“It is a time to trust God and to understand that our only hope is in Christ, Jesus, to heal our land,” she said.