Oct. 1, 2001, (RNS)--A new effort called the Presidential Prayer Team isregistering tens of thousands of Americans to pray for President Bushand the nation in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"We have 140,000 people that have come over the Internet, signing uptheir commitment to pray daily for the president," William Hunter,president and founder of the initiative, told Religion News Service onOct. 1.

"People are coming together, realizing that need to pray for ourpresident and our nation."

Hunter, a Scottsdale, Ariz., businessman and sculptor, came up withthe idea of praying for Bush soon after the inauguration.

A lay member of Scottsdale Bible Church, a nondenominationalcongregation, he had encouraged members of his Sunday school class topray for the president each day and had given those who pledged to do soa patriotic coin he designed as a prayer reminder.

Hunter's plan to nationally distribute a new coin depictingPresident George Washington praying at Valley Forge has been delayed bythe events of Sept. 11.

With funding from the Envoy Group, a Tucson, Ariz.-based Christianadvertising company, he began publicizing the prayer effort and will besending free decals with the coin's design to those who sign up to prayfor Bush, his administration and the country.

The team's work is endorsed by Christian leaders and MissionAmerica, a consortium of evangelical denominations and ministries, butHunter hopes it will be an interfaith prayer effort.

"From the very get-go, we have set it up to be for all faiths," hesaid. "We want anybody involved that prays to the God of our universe tobe involved in prayer."

During the last week of September, as many as 25,000 people signedup in one day.

"Our goal is to have 2.8 million -- that's 1 percent of the U.S.population -- praying for the president each day," Hunter said.

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