Aretha Franklin's hometown church in Detroit holds vigil

A special vigil was held Wednesday morning for Aretha Franklin as the world prays for a miracle.

"You want that voice forever. You want that touch forever. You want to see them visually forever," Pastor Robert Smith, Jr. said.

Dozens gathered before dawn at New Bethel Baptist Church on Linwood, where Aretha's father was once a pastor.

"She called me back in October and she said, 'Robert, don't worry. I'm going to be alright; the church is going to be alright. That made me know that she thought time was winding up," Pastor Smith said.

Aretha's family has told FOX 2 that she is gravely ill and prayers are needed. Pastor Smith is praying, but also giving perspective as well.

"It's a great mystery as to why God lets you love somebody and know full well that the relationship has got to end, whether it's your mother, sister, brother, next-door neighbor. He gives us the ability to really get attached to one another," he said.

The prayers come one day after Stevie Wonder visited the ailing Queen of Soul at her home. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Franklin's ex-husband, actor Glynn Turman, also visited her.

Others in the congregation are reflecting on happier times -- the glory days of the church where Aretha first performed a solo in the 1950s. Her storied career would carry her voice throughout the world but her hometown field was never lost.

"She knew my great aunt ... and (Aretha) asked me if I could get ahold of one of her recipes," said parishioner Adrena Sanders. "In one of her books she did mention my great aunt."

In Southfield at Kerby's koney island the wait staff said they remembered the times Aretha would order takeout. 

"One time she and her brother were in here and he didn't want some coneys and she did and she told him this is just like when we were little - I tell you what to do. You're getting coneys," said Dawn Davison.

While at her home in hospice care, prayers are coming in for Aretha from around the globe

"Get better so she can come eat coneys and that we love her and that our prayers are with her," Davison said.