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Group sings, prays for lawmakers in legislative chambers

The Center for Arizona Policy isn’t just lobbying lawmakers, it’s also praying for them.

About 50 people associated with the socially conservative lobbying organization gathered Monday before sunrise for its annual Prayer Walk, a tour of the Capitol where they ask for wisdom, health and righteousness to be bestowed upon lawmakers, the governor and judiciary during the 2012 Legislature.

“Throughout CAP’s history, prayer has always been a foundational part of what we do,” said CAP Executive Director Cathi Herrod. “We believe we are called to pray for our elected leaders, we’re to pray for good government and I think people of all faiths consider prayer to be a cornerstone of their faith.”

The group gathered in each chamber for 20 minutes where pastors led prayers and guitarist Jeff Merry led hymns that the worshipers sang along to, some swaying in place with their arms outreached.

As Merry stood softly strumming his guitar, people moved silently among the rows of desks, stopping and standing solemnly at each and some people placing their hands on the desktops.

Among the group was Tom White, a Phoenix resident who also volunteers to sit in the gallery of the chambers daily to pray. Last year, he didn’t miss a day.

“We just kind of pray for good things to happen, so to speak,” White said.

Herrod reminded the gathering outside the Executive Tower that Planned Parenthood was planning its own gathering later in the day at the Capitol.

“They are out for blood,” said Herrod, whose organization has successfully lobbied for restrictions on abortion in Arizona over the years.

The group later stopped at the spot where Planned Parenthood and several other women’s groups were to rally and prayed for them to “change their hearts.”

“We pray for health for all the women who have had abortions in this state,” Herrod said.

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