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(Rick Hickman / American Press)

(Rick Hickman / American Press)

Hundreds gather to observe National Day of Prayer

Last Modified: Friday, May 03, 2013 8:45 AM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

Hundreds of people met at the Lake Charles Civic Center on Thursday to observe National Prayer Day.

Monroe resident Dennis Swanberg, who describes himself as a Christian humorist and impressionist, was the keynote speaker during a lunch inside the Civic Center’s main auditorium.

Swanberg’s message to the audience was to keep a close relationship with God.

“Let him (the Lord) be your best friend. So when you pray, your prayers will be heard,” Swanberg said. “It is a whole lot easier to talk to your friend.”

Swanberg peppered his speech with funny lines while mimicking Don Knotts, James Stewart, John Wayne, Tom Hanks, Howard Cosell, Muhammad Ali, Billy Graham and Ronald Reagan.

“I love doing impressions and telling stories about real people,” Swanberg said.

To make his point about the necessity of nurturing a spiritual relationship, Swanberg used the illustration of modern-day friendships.

“Friends make a difference. If you could afford to live anywhere, be with your friends,” he said. “It’s OK to have friends, and it’s OK to have best friends. Everyone needs close friends.”

The event was organized by the Profit N Loss Association of Lake Charles.

Along with public speaking, Swanberg has produced broadcast shows like “Swan’s Place” and “The Dennis Swanberg Show.” His is also a published author.

Swanberg, a graduate of Baylor University, has master’s and doctoral degrees from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

In 1952 the federal government established the National Day of Prayer, which is observed on the first Thursday in May.

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