Local officials encourage community rain prayer

Local officials are encouraging area residents to join a Sunday community prayer they're hoping will bring precipitation to eastern New Mexico.

One of the organizers, Plains Regional Medical Center Administrator Hoyt Skabelund, hopes Sunday's prayer for rain will become a trend among residents of eastern New Mexico and West Texas.

"This is a God-fearing, faith-filled area of the country," Skabelund said. "We just want to unite everybody in a non-denominational way to pray from their heart in their homes, as individuals and as church congregations."

The Clovis area has received 17.99 inches of precipitation in 2011 and 2012, which is slightly less than the average annual rainfall (19.32 inches) from 1981 to 2010, according to the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

This year hasn't offered much relief from the dry conditions with less than an inch of precipitation.

According to the USDA Weekly Crop and Weather Report, Curry County is experiencing extreme drought, and a large portion of Roosevelt County is experiencing exceptional drought — which is the most severe condition on the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Prayer for rain can be recited anywhere at any time on Sunday. Skabelund said Saturday church congregations are also encouraged to join the prayer. He believes many citizens will respond out of the need for rain to alleviate the drought that has plagued the area in recent years.

Skabelund pointed out the strength and perseverance early pioneers exhibited when settling the area.

"Hopefully this (day of prayer) will draw our minds back to them as they settled and hopefully we can sustain their settlements by God's mercy."

Clovis Mayor David Landsford believes the day of prayer is long overdue. Landsford said prayer is the only remedy for alleviating a drought.

Landsford said he plans to pray for rain on Sunday morning with his congregation at Central Baptist Church and pray with his family on Sunday night at the dinner table.

"This is certainly something I've had on my mind for a long time," Landsford said. "The people who are affected by this drought need to collectively come together and seek the only one who can change the weather, the creator, Jesus Christ. If we go to him maybe we'll have an answer soon."

National Weather Service precipitation totals (inches)

2011 — 8.20

2012 — 9.72

2013 — .81

Annual average (1981-2010) — 19.32

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