Community prepares to bow heads on National Day of Prayer Thursday
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 1, 2011 1:50 AM
The National Day of Prayer, observed on the first Thursday in May for the past 60 years, becomes a communitywide event in Goldsboro this year.
Previously, smaller versions locally have been hosted by area churches and on the courthouse steps.
But this year, a group was formed to organize a patriotic God and country celebration to commemorate the occasion.
Lynn Chewning, spokes-person for the Wayne County Task Force, said the "huge undertaking" began in November.
"I just have such a passion for our country to get to pray because we need it desperately," she said. "I also have a couple friends that share that passion and during conversations, decided we wanted it to grow locally and involve the community."
The group initially approached Goldsboro Mayor Al King with the proposal.
"He was all on board from the very beginning, very encouraging," Mrs. Chewning said.
Grassroots support from area churches as well as CLIFF -- Clergy Living in Faith and Fellowship -- and others helped launch the initiative.
"We have just had people come alongside that have been very instrumental in helping with this," she said. "There's a lot of things that we're learning this go-round. We have got churches involved. It's crossed racial lines, interdenominations."
It's also a historical tribute, she pointed out.
In 1775, the first Continental Congress called for a National Day of Prayer, as did President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Congress established it as an annual event, signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1952 and then amended and signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
"Prayer has been a vital part of our country from the beginning," Mrs. Chewning said. "People think, this is a great day but I can stay home and pray. There's such power in corporate prayer. When God's people come together, He moves in magnificent ways."
The local event will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Goldsboro High School auditorium. Admission is free and the public is invited.
Doors will open at 6:15 p.m., at which time praise and worship music will be provided by Sound of Tehillah from Tehillah Church and WSYM House Band from Bethel Church.
Theme for this year's National Day of Prayer is "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." The local theme, Mrs. Chewning said, is "Wayne County United in Prayer."
Keynote speaker will be Michael Dean Chadwick of Raleigh, chief executive officer of Chadwick Homes and 1st American Realty. In addition to being a motivational speaker and operating the non-profit Mike Chadwick Ministries, he supports his daughter and son-in-law Katie and Josh Hamilton, professional baseball player with the Texas Rangers, in their ministry, "Triple Play Ministries."
"He's a self-made, very wealthy man with a construction business in Raleigh," Mrs. Chewning said of Chadwick. "He's also an incredible energetic gentleman. We were very lucky to get him."
Other features of the 90-minute program include presentation of colors by Seymour Johnson AFB, national anthem sung by D.J. Coles, youth minister at the SJAFB chapel, and a presentation about "7x7" and the seven points of prayer.
"This comes from the National Day of Prayer," Mrs. Chewning explained. "Seven areas for seven days a week -- government, military, media, business, education, church and family. If you pray over each of these areas then you have covered everybody in our country."
Representatives from each of those areas within the community will be called upon to pray briefly, she said.