From the walls of the library to the menu in the cafeteria, the image of Marine Cpl. Nathaniel D. Katterson is posted all over the Lanham campus of Washington Bible College. Above the young soldier's portrait are the words, "Please Pray."
"Lord, I lift up Nathan," intoned freshman Sadie Yates during a recent midweek service organized to wish Katterson well on his deployment to the Persian Gulf.
"Nathan has the Gospel in him; help him to be courageous! Be his all in all, Lord! Lord, as he is on the battlefield, I pray that he be a witness for you."
Across the region, religious organizations are finding ways to express their fears and hopes about the war by turning to prayer and offering specific wishes for members of their congregations, classmates and colleagues.
"We pray for peace and safety for those involved in the armed forces, and we ask for peace in the world," said Imtiaz Ahmad, president of the Prince George's Muslim Association in Seabrook.
Rabbi Gary Fink of Oseh Shalom, a Jewish congregation in Laurel, said, "Regardless of whether one supports or opposes the war, the prayer should remain the same, and that is that one day war will no longer be necessary or desirable.
"The fears of those who support the war are real and valid, and the questions of those who oppose the war are equally valid; we have families on both sides of this issue," Fink said. "My role is to focus the discussion while praying for the safety of our love ones and peace in the world."
Hazel Tuloch, 73, is part of a group of women called the "Prayer Warriors," who are part of the New Life Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Gaithersburg. Every morning, she and her group get on the phone to pray.
Tuloch has added her grandson, Clement Edwards, to the prayer list because he is a Marine. "When I spoke to him last, he was on a weapons ship heading to Iraq."
The Rev. Errol Stoddert, Tuloch's pastor, said he also has been praying more because his sister recently decided to marry a Marine who was deployed.
"We are going to be praying for our troops and for the leadership of our nation," Stoddert said. "There has never been a time to pray like now."
-- Hamil R. Harris