04/30/04 — National Day of Prayer to be observed here Thursday

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National Day of Prayer to be observed here Thursday

By Linda Luck
Published in News on April 30, 2004 2:02 PM

"Let Freedom Ring" is the theme for this year's National Day of Prayer, which will be observed on Thursday.

The First Presbyterian Church, 1101 E. Ash St., will hold a service for the community to participate. The chapel will be open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Dr. Bill Hufham will lead a prayer service at noon.

A noon service also will be held at the House of Fordham, 412 N. William St., and a meal will be served afterward.

A national unity prayer will be said at noon by groups or individually:

"Gracious God, You have been good to us beyond our deserving, making our nation a land of liberty. Help us to protect our freedoms with diligence and integrity.

"Lord, bless our military as it advances freedom's cause around the world. Bless also the institutions of power and influence in our society -- the government, the churches, the media, the schools and the families. May each bring glory to Your name.

"Forgive us when we stray from right paths. We place our trust in You, O Lord, believing that Your hand will sustain America. Let no shadows obscure the pathways which we should tread.

"We pray in Your holy name. Amen."

The National Day of Prayer traces its beginning to 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation. The call continued through 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.