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      Residents take time off to pray

      Americans across the country took some time off Thursday to pray.

      The first Thursday of May is the National Day of Prayer. People around the country celebrated at the exact same time.

      It is the 19th year in a row Albany has celebrated it. Hundreds of residents came to the 200 block of Pine Ave. at noon.

      It featured songs and guest speakers. They prayed for government, family, business among other topics. The event was sponsored by the Albany Dougherty National Prayer Committee.

      Executive Director Wanda Mitchell said it helps bring optimism in a hard time.

      "God is always calling us into unity. This is certainly a time for unity. The more we grow together and appeal to god for his hand in protection and guidance, at all levels of government is certainly our primary objective."

      To learn more, visit www.nationaldayofprayer.org.