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, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000. 1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city. 1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association. 1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College. 1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.