Dozens gather at Jacksonville Beach to pray Hurricane Irma away

Many turn to their faith to help weather the storm

By Joy Purdy - 5:30, 6:30 & 11 p.m. anchor

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - As anxiety increases with Hurricane Irma's approach, many are turning to their faith to help weather the storm.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has said it several times: Prepare for the storm, but pray it falls apart.

The Jacksonville Beach Pier was the place where dozens gathered Thursday evening to pray with outstretched hands that this huge hurricane pushes out to sea.

News of the gathering spread fast.
 
"We're gonna put this storm to sea -- no fear," one person in attendance said.
 
Many churches and other groups heeded the "Code Red" call for intercessory prayer and protection against Hurricane Irma at the Jacksonville Beach Pier.
 
"As Christians, we are told in scripture that we can speak storms to quiet down like Jesus did," organizer Mary Parker said. "People care about Jacksonville. They care about the beaches, yes. They don't want any more erosion, they don't want any more destruction of property or families dying. They came to prevent what happened in Texas."
 
Starting at 7 p.m., the gatherers called on God to push Hurricane Irma out to sea.
 
The prayer service was complete with hymns and Bible passages.
 
"Then He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still," the group read.

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Participants made sure that social media shared the message with the entire city.

"Hurricane Irma is coming our way, and we're telling her that she cannot be here," participant Natalya Loboda said.

Organizers started advertising Thursday night's meeting on Tuesday. They said there was such a positive response that organizers plan on having more group prayers at the beach.

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