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If you accidentally double-post, our moderators will likely catch it.Click here to read the entire policy Published: 7/29/2011 1:08 PM | Last update: 7/30/2011 12:09 AM (Lindsey Bauman/The Hutchinson News) From left, Sister Rose Mary Stein, Sister Ancilla Schawe, Sister Irene Hartman and Sister Charlotte Unrein pray for rain near a statue of Saint Catherine of Siena while outside on the Dominican Sisters campus in Great Bend. By Kathy Hanks - The Hutchinson News - email@example.com Working in the dirt, Sister Charlotte Unrein spends a lot of time in her vegetable garden at the motherhouse in Great Bend. Tilling the soil, she prays unceasingly asking the Lord for rain. ----------advertisement----------- “I sing a song in Latin to the Blessed Mother, and then as I go about picking and watering I’m praying,” Unrein said. When a rare rain shower blew through Great Bend last week, she stood outside looking heavenward, “Praising God all over the place,” she said. Despite drought and record-breaking heat plaguing parts of Kansas this summer Unrein prays as she tends the garden, believing her prayers will be answered and this weather pattern will break one of these days. With this week U.S. Drought Monitor reporting 70 percent of Kansas in some type of drought, and 11 percent exceptional, Unrein’s prayers for precipitation are much needed. But, praying for rain is not new, and can be traced through the ages to religions around the globe. In Haskell County this Sunday evening, the Ministerial Alliance will be hosting an “Evening of Prayer and Praise for Rain,” with the hope of packing Sublette’s Southern Baptist Church with an inter-denominational crowd praying together for the thing. Here in Haskell County where the drought is extreme, the Rev. Shane Lester is coordinating the event that involves congregations from across the county in a time of Bible reading, praying and singing. In 10 years of ministry, this is Lester’s first prayer service for rain. While he admits he knows little about farming, he knows many members of his congregation depend upon rain for their livelihood. Drought has been a huge concern for his congregation. “It’s something that has been on my mind for several weeks,” Lester said. “Some of the farmers have been talking about how desperate it is out here. We have lost the wheat harvest and it looks like we’ll lose the corn harvest. These people are desperate and the land is desperate. We all believe in the power of prayer individually and collectively. When God’s people get together and turn their attention to a need, that moves God.” Lester said the theme for the service comes from a passage in Job 5:8-11 “But as for me, I would seek God, and I would place my cause before God; who does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth, and sends water on the fields, so that He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.” Lester explained that Job was suffering, in distress and very troubled, but he said “I would just seek God and place my call before God who does great things. Lester believes people need to get to that point where they put their trust in God and trust him to do great things. Despite a chance for scattered showers around the area Thursday and Friday, Sunday’s forecast for Sublette is for 100-degrees and sunny. Will praying for rain work? “Miracles do occur,” said Larry Ruthi, head meteorologist at Dodge City’s National Weather Service. While he noted a fair chance of scattered showers late in the week, none would be drought breakers. By Sunday there wasn’t much of a chance for rain. Instead the forecast moved back to hot, dry, triple -digit days. Ruthi has seen praying for rain work. “Maybe the prayers in Haskell County can make a difference,” Ruthi said. “It’s the best thing we can do. I don’t control the weather, God does. The rest of us just report it.” Sharon Lampe, a farm wife who lives southern Hamilton County, thinks in the power of collectively praying for rain. After she organized a “Rain Gathering,” in drought stricken Hamilton County back in October 2000, attended by about 180 people, a miracle occurred. “Over the next month, we got 5 inches of rain,” Lampe said. “Five inches, that was exceptional.” She believes the prayer gathering brought the rain. “I absolutely believe in a concentrated effort of prayer like that,” Lampe said. “He hears it.” When she organized a second ecumenical rain gathering in 2002 the crowd wasn’t as large. The lack of participation left her believing people just didn’t care. But still she recalled it rained afterward. Out in far western Kansas, there are areas that have seen spotty rainfall in recent days. “But north of Ulysses they are begging for rain,” she said. “We have fields that have had several showers come through.” Several people have asked her to organize another rain gathering “I have thought many times, why does it have to be me? Others can organize it,” Lampe said. Back in the dirty 30s, desperation had residents in Kansas trying every way of coaxing moisture from the sky including killing a snake and letting it hang belly-side up on a fence, according to Timothy Egan, author of “The Worst Hard Time,” a book about the Dust Bowl. Egan explained how a sense of doom washed across people. As they received less and less rain, some ministers preached that they must have done something wicked to deserve these awful times. Newspapers conveyed this sentiment. In Oklahoma, The Boise City News ran a front-page drawing of the Grim Reaper with a death grip over No Man’s Land and began a piece on the dust storms with a citation from Ezekiel: “Behold, I have smitten my hand at thy dishonest gain which thou has made.” “Dishonest gain might have been referring to all the people buying new cars, dancing late, drinking bootleg hooch, purchasing washing machines on credit, plowing up, up, more, more, more land,” Egan said. In current times, believing in the power of prayer, has led the governors of Oklahoma and Texas to ask residents of all faiths for prayers to seek the end to the devastating droughts and dangerous wildfires that have stricken their states. The News was unable to reach Gov. Sam Brownback and ask if he was planning to have a time of prayer for rain. During drought or times of plentiful moisture, Sister Unrein said being in the garden was a very special time of contemplation. “God’s earth is very sacred,” Unrein said. “I have faith God will bless us one day with rain. One of these days we will be back where we were. “In his time he does what needs to be done, ultimately our payers are answered.” If you go: Evening of Prayer and Praise for Rain, 6 p.m. July 31 at Sublette Southern Baptist Church, 901 Lark, Sublette.