The event represents a long-standing tradition in America. In 1952, Congress and President Harry S. Truman declared a National Day of Prayer and signed into law an annual of observance the event. President Ronald Reagan later designated the first Thursday in May for the occasion to take place. The tradition has been continued by presidents in recent years, and a proclamation is signed by the Commander in Chief annually.
The first call for national prayer actually predates the nation. The Continental Congress asked colonists to pray for wisdom in the creation of the U. S. in 1775. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day in 1863 a time for “humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”
The aim of the day, according to the National Day of Prayer Task Force, is to organize and promote “prayer observances conforming to a Judeo-Christian system of values.” They encourage those of other faiths and philosophies to organize activities consistent with their own beliefs, saying that diversity was intended when the Day of Prayer was designated, “not that every faith and creed would be homogenized, but that all who sought to pray for this nation would be encouraged to do so in any way deemed appropriate.”
Services will be held at noon Thursday, May 5 at the following locations:
• The observance in Middlesboro will be a fasting lunch, held in the sanctuary at First Christian Church. This service is sponsored by the Middlesboro Ministerial Association.
• In Pineville, the service will be held on the Pine Street steps of the Bell County Courthouse (in case of rain it will be held inside the courthouse.) Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock, and Pineville Mayor Sherwin Rader will be leading the program, music will be provided by the Bell County High School choir, and prayers will be led by local ministers, business owners, and others.
• In Harrogate, an outdoor service is scheduled to be held at Harrogate City Hall, located in the Emergency Service Building on Highway 63.
For more information about the event, including locations, visit nationaldayofprayer.org.
Information in this article courtesy the National Day of Prayer Task Force.