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Utah rally coincides with Promise Keepers

Prayers for unity, perseverance and repentance echoed off buildings surrounding the State Capitol Saturday, where people gathered to commemorate the Promise Keepers assembly in Washington.

About 60 men and a handful of women and children from as far as northern California gathered at the two-hour Christian prayer rally to open their hearts to Jesus Christ. Similar rallies were held in neighborhoods across the country."It's awesome," said Lance Gallagher of Weaverville, Calif., a truck driver en route to Colorado. He and his wife, Jolyn, stopped in Salt Lake City to attend the rally.

"The Promise Keepers is about my dedication to Christ and the service of my wife," said Lance Gallagher, adding he had once served time behind bars.

Added Jolyn Gallagher: "It totally changed our lives."

An estimated 1,500 Utahns traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the all-male Promise Keepers assembly, an attempt to rekindle masculine spirituality.

While Curtis Peters of Ogden wanted to ride with other members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association to Washington, he said he was humbled by the prayer rally in Salt Lake City.

"I feel refreshed, uplifted, renewed, humbled and blessed and challenged to continue to pray for revival, our nation, so God will bless us," said Peters, vice president of his Christian Motorcyclists Association chapter. He also participates in the prison ministry at the Weber County Jail.

Rally participants were urged to break down barriers of race, gender and denomination and create unity through prayer. Religious leaders of several denominations offered scripture and prayer for families, community, education, law enforcement, local and national leaders, and, most of all, forgiveness.

"As men of God, we have a lot to repent for," said pastor Tim Brewer of First Church of the Nazarene in Salt Lake City.

Male gatherers knelt to silently pray for forgiveness as women stood behind them. Other times, participants cried out in exaltation, shed tears, sang songs with live musicians and swayed, arms held out to the heavens.

"He has given us promises, folks, and they're in the word - the scriptures," said Dan Jakubek of Ophir, Tooele County, who oversaw the service. "His word lives inside us."

A live broadcast of the Washington event was shown at the Mountain View Christian Assembly Church in Sandy.

Peters said such gatherings are of crucial importance for men.

"Men are the spiritual leaders of our families," he said. "The family has broken down. . . . This will bring about great changes for the better."