Early Friday morning, hundreds of people were up early to attend the annual prayer breakfast in Bristol.
It’s an event that brings out church groups, civic leaders, and people in the community to gather for prayer.
It was an early start to Friday morning, but it didn't slow down this crowd at the 14th annual Bristol prayer breakfast.
It was an idea started by community members to bring people together. "There's quite a cross-section of the business community, folks from churches and we're all here for one reason and that's to honor the Lord," says committee member Harry Scanlan.
This year's event was headlined by singer-songwriter Louise Mandrell. “There's not anymore joy than speaking about the thing that makes you happy. I am a Christian, I love the Lord and that's why I’m always smiling," she said.
Mandrell brought along her nephew Matthew Dudney and his wife Christy Sutherland. The trio talked about the impact faith has had on their lives.
Bristol businessman Bobby Griffin helped start the prayer breakfast years ago and got Mandrell here for this year's event. “I was thinking one morning maybe I can get her. I called her and she shocked me. She said, 'Bobby, November 2 is the only time I can come.' So we worked it out and she came," he said.
The turnout of hundreds of people pleased event organizers. “This morning at 5:30 the parking lot was full and it's amazing to get 500 people out this early in the morning," adds Griffin.
As for the keynote speaker, Mandrell says this was somewhat of a homecoming, “I was in East Tennessee for eight years and I love it here. I’ve missed it quite honestly, but I had to move to Nashville because my husband was ill. He's still struggling. We just take it one day at a time and God is amazing,” she told us.
Many attendees say the event is a great way to bring the community together and a little bit of inspiration before sunrise.
Event organizers tell us they're already thinking about next year's prayer breakfast and will have a date picked as soon as they line up the next keynote speaker.