DAVENPORT -- It wasn't a Trailways bus. It was a prayer-ways charter.
It's 50 feet long, 14 feet tall, 9 feet wide and averages 5.5 miles per gallon of gas, but prayers it hauled to the Quad-Cities were eternally endless.
Painted red, white and blue with a likeness of the Statue of Liberty on it, the National Day of Prayer task force bus was "sure an attention-getter," Quad Cities Prayer Center executive director Scott Schaefer said.
The bus pulled up outside the prayer center's NorthPark Mall site Monday for a day-long visit and a night worship service, as part of a nationwide tour.
The bus once was used by the Dallas Cowboys, and later by CBS Sports announcers before it was redecorated for its national prayer pilgrimage, task force public relations director Dion Elmore said.
The bus visited 52 cities in 15 states in 46 days before making its Quad-Cities tour stop.
Holding an annual National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of every May was the group's primary focus for 25 years, Mr. Elmore said. "But we really wanted to get our message out more than that and share our energy and passion for prayer."
The Quad-Cities wasn't on the original tour list, but Mr. Elmore, a Davenport native, wanted to visit his hometown, so fit it into the schedule, Mr. Schaefer said. "I was in Colorado Springs when I got a call from Dion asking if arrangements could be made."
Mr. Elmore is based in Colorado Springs, and found out from Mr. Schaefer about the prayer center's Davenport location, so making the connections seemed fateful.
A handful of task force members handed out materials and prayed with people over a variety of issues, mainly focusing on prayers for the government, church, military, family, education, media and business, much like what's done on the annual May prayer day. For information, visit commit2pray.com.
As prayer center board chairman Jay Hays stood next to the bus, he jokingly turned to Mr. Schaefer and said, "For some reason, I really feel like praying for America."
The message "Pray for America," along with a Matthew 12:21 passage, which reads, "In His name, the nations will put their hope," were broadly emblazoned across the vehicle.
"The bus is a great opportunity to remind people about the importance of prayer," Mr. Hays said.
Bus-riding task force members led about 200 prayer gatherings during their 5,500-mile journey leading up to the Quad-Cities stop.
Mr. Elmore has been on board since May, getting only a few days off in July when the bus was being serviced.
A couple of his Davenport cousins, who saw a Facebook posting about his expected arrival, paid a surprise welcoming visit.
Enough funding exists for the bus to run through Sept. 10, leaving them time to travel to California, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, before winding up in South Carolina, home of the Champion Coach owners of the bus, Mr. Elmore said, leaving plenty of time to share their prayer ways.
Today is Wednesday, March 12, the 71st day of 2014. There are 294 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Soldiers from the barracks on the Arsenal manage to elude the vigilance of the guard nearly every day and come to town armed. In the hands of excited and perhaps intoxicated men, these weapons are dangerous. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Manufacturing's merchants and professional men of Moline were petitioning the Western Union Telegraph company to establish a telegraph office in the business area of the city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Three Rock Island students, the Misses Eleanor Cleaveland, Dorothy McCabe and Ruth West, escaped injury when fire destroyed College Hall at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War gave a party for William H. Stremmel, the only survivor of John Buford Post 243, GAR. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The East Moline Grade School Board of Education last night granted salary increases totaling about $47,000 to teachers and staff members. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Five champion spellers from the Rock Island/Milan School district were selected after competition this week at Modern Woodmen of America. Winners are Sarah Cottay, Christopher Gilbrich, Jared Vogele, Kedric Roper and Kenny Stevenson.