By Elizabeth Varville, Correspondent
The 65th annual National Day of Prayer was held May 5 at the Bell County Expo Center. Members of churches from the surrounding areas of Bell County gathered to participate in the event. Guest speakers recited multiple prayers for numerous organizations, including the government, the church, the military, the family, businesses, media, and education. Attendees were separated to represent each of the 50 states. The theme for 2016 is “Wake Up America”, emphasizing the need for individuals to return to God.
“We ask members (of churches) if they are interested in participating. We have been doing this for years. We all pray together to help lift each other up,” said Event Coordinator Ruth Daniel.
According to nationaldayofprayer.org, the mission of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the culture. The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation. The Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo-Christian expression of the national observance, based on the understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible. The day has great significance for us as a nation as it enables the nation to recall and to teach the way in which the founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call for the nation to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for leaders and His grace upon us as people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to the nation today as it was in the beginning. This day has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation. Every year, local, state, and federal observances are held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for the nation. It is estimated that over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances; organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers.
“We are a Christian motorcycle group. We are all over the United States. We are a prayer-team ministry. We normally go to all the prayer events. We minister to people; lead them to Jesus. This is our 5th year attending,” said club president, Norm Mitchell.
The National Day of Prayer Task Force’s 2016 Honorary Chairman Dr. Tony Evans wrote a special prayer to be read at all National Day of Prayer events. Evans is one of the country’s most respected leaders in evangelical circles. He is a pastor, best-selling author, and frequent speaker at bible conferences and seminars throughout the nation.
“Dear Heavenly Father, we come to You today as a humble people desperate for Your supernatural intervention on behalf of our beloved nation. First, we thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on our land, blessings that have allowed us to bring so much good and benefit to not only our own citizens but also to the rest of the world. The very ideals upon which this country was founded were based on biblical truths, no matter how some try to rewrite history to deny that very fact today. This is why our hearts are so broken over how You continue to be marginalized and dismissed by both our people and our institutions. We are also saddened by the fact that Your people have contributed greatly to the spiritual apathy that now engulfs us. Our satisfaction in remaining religious without being fully committed to living out the truths of Your Word has caused us to become co-conspirators with the forces of evil that are destroying us as a society. It is for this reason that we personally and collectively repent of our carnality and recommit ourselves to becoming visible and verbal disciples of Jesus Christ. Enable us, by Your Spirit, to no longer be secret agent Christians but rather to publicly declare and live out Your truth in a spirit of love so that You feel welcome in our country once again. Thank You for Your promise to hear our prayers when we call to You with hearts of repentance and obedience, which is how we are appealing to You today, Father. On behalf of Your church, we affirm afresh the priority You are to us that You would fill every dimension of our lives as we seek to bring You glory through the advancement of Your kingdom in our personal lives, our family lives, and in the lives of our churches and our government leaders. We confidently invite heaven’s intervention into all the affairs of our nation and we praise You in advance for Your answer. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”
For more information on National Day of Prayer, please visit www.NationalDayofPrayer.org.