Offering prayers at the service in Middlesboro will be South Bevins for the media, Ed Bowling for the Armed Forces, John Chadwell for educators, CCM coordinator Pat Stanley for families, Commonwealth Attorney Karen Greene Blondell for all levels of government, and Captain Joe Irvin from the Salvation Army for churches. Special music will be presented by Darlene Long from Abundant Life Fellowship. The ceremony will close with all in attendance praying in unison the 2007 Prayer for Our Nation written by Dr. Charles R. Swindoll.
Taking part in the Pineville service will be Mayor Bob Madon, the Rev. Albert Hughes of First United Methodist Church, Dr. Martha Combs-Woolum, Ernest Slusher, Charles Evans from First State Financial, Donnie Wilson, and the Bell County High School Air Force JROTC Color Guard.
The theme for the 56th Annual National Day of Prayer is “America, Unite in Prayer” and is based on the verse from II Chronicles 7:14 which states: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (NIV)
Because of the faith of many of our founding fathers, public prayer and national days of prayer have a long-standing and significant history in American tradition. The Supreme Court affirmed the right of state legislatures to open their sessions with prayer in Marsh vs. Chambers (1983).
The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of American heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual, national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations
Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, this day has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Last year, local, state and federal observances were held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for our nation. It is estimated that more than two million people attended more than 40,000 observances organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers. The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman, reminds us: “We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”