National Day of Prayer set for Thursday
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on April 29, 2013 1:46 PM
For the third year, Wayne County residents will come together to pray for the nation and its leaders on the National Day of Prayer.
The annual event will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. A service for adults will be at the Paramount Theatre, while youths will have their own service across the street at Cornerstone Commons.
"It started back a few years ago when Daniels Memorial United Methodist Church wanted to reach out to the community, particularly the base, and have a big event at the church," said Linda Meyer, Day of Prayer task force member. "Several people thought it would be wonderful if more people in the community would get involved in a countywide event."
And so, the National Day of Prayer began locally.
However, its roots can be traced back to 1775 when the Continental Congress called the first national day of fasting and prayer. In 1863, with the Civil War going on, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of prayer and fasting, as did President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the National Day of Prayer, to be held each year on the first Thursday in May.
The first Wayne County event was held at Goldsboro High School, Ms. Meyer said.
Task force member D.J. Coles said several other groups are involved with the event this year, including Light of Christ Church, whose members will perform the opening music. Coles will sing the national anthem and County Commissioner Chairman Steve Keen will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
After a welcome by Mayor Al King, Ed Ollie from Northridge Church will talk about what prayer is and also about repentance as a people and a nation. A sign language interpreter will be on hand throughout the event.
Coles said the prayer part of the service will focus on seven areas -- government with prayer by Paul Newby, a North Carolina Supreme Court justice; military with prayer by active duty airman Chris Lyons and retired Lt. Col. Stu Smith; media with prayer by 730 WFMC personality Corey Warren; business with prayer by Raul Ortiz, the owner of La Paz Restaurant; education with prayer by Jenny Heim with Meadow Lane School; church with prayer by John Randolph with Crossway Church; and family with prayer by Dr. Jenny Ziemer.
Leading the youth service will be Terry Jones and pastors Jeremy and Kip Jennings with First Pentecostal Holiness Church. The praise band from The Bridge will provide music.
Rabbi Albert Madison will give the benediction at the Paramount, then the adult congregation will walk across to Cornerstone Commons to pray for the young people, Coles said.
"I'm so passionate to see that in the third year of the event, we are able to unite as a community," Coles said. "It's not about a show or being seen. It's about coming together to pray for our community and worship our God.
"In the aftermath of what happened in Boston, it's a timely time for prayer as a community."
Ms. Meyer said National Day of Prayer has become a necessity.
"When we look at our nation, we really weep over the condition of the nation," she said. "There's a breakdown of families. We have an economic crisis and terrorist threats, even persecution of those who speak the name of Christ.
"With all of that, it would be very easy to get discouraged and frustrated, but we know that God is sovereign. As Christians, we come together. We want to go to God in prayer."