Carter County adds voices to National Day of Prayer
It was a time for reflection, meditation and thankfulness.
But the main focus of the afternoon was prayer.
Local pastors from county churches, along with government leaders, participated in the annual Day of Prayer ceremony at the Carter County courthouse at noon Thursday.
During the ceremony, organized by the Carter County Ministerial Association, speakers offered up prayers for the government, leaders, schools, family and others. The ceremony’s theme was One Voice United in Prayer.
“The only reason we are here is to pray,” said Roger Hayley, pastor at Union Hill Freewill Baptist Church and president of the CCMA. “We are here to pray for our community, our leaders and our government.”
During his prayer, Hayley asked for a time of “revival” in the country, and asked that people never forget their freedom of religion.
“Never forget the privilege of prayer,” Hayley said. “It is the greatest privilege we have.”
Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church Pastor Randy Johnson prayed for government leaders.
“From the courthouse to the Oval Office, I pray the government seeks You first,” Johnson prayed. “We are told to pray for those who are over us. As people look to them, I pray they look to you.”
First Church of God Pastor Bob Shupe offered a prayer for military members. Shupe said he did not believe there was a time when there were “so few” serving in a violent war to protect the many.
“Keep them safe as they keep us safe,” Shupe prayed. “Give them the strength they need to carry the burdens they carry.”
Greg Key, pastor at West Side Christian Church, gave a prayer for the media. He said with the advances of technology, media members had more opportunity to spread the gospel than had ever been available before. He noted it was a “double-edged sword,” with not every person sharing a positive message.
“I pray for truth and morality to be presented to bring glory to God,” he said.
David Martin, also of Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church, and First United Methodist pastor Ray Amos said prayers for churches.
“I am thankful the churches have been ordained to be a light to the world,” Martin said.
Amos prayed for a restoration of the joy of salvation to church members.
“Keep our hearts strong that our witness will not be destroyed,” he said.
Grace Baptist Church Pastor Travis Tyler and Milligan Free Will Baptist Church pastor Mark Street prayed for families.
Tyler said the Bible provided the model for the family unit. He prayed for healing for broken homes and for homes to turn back to God.
“The community is only as strong as the families are,” Street said.
Biltmore Baptist Church Bill Davis prayed for the safety and protection of students and teachers at schools. Siam Baptist Church interim pastor Dean Smith prayed for the families and communities that have been affected by the recent tornadoes and flooding.
Oak Street Baptist Church pastor Bruce Hendrich offered prayers for the business climate in the country. Hendrich prayed for the growth of small businesses, for people who needed jobs to find employment and for the return of the “industrious spirit” that was a common fixture of the American community.
Pine Ridge Care and Rehabilitation chaplain Bryan Smith read the 2014 National Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz.
“This is a prayer for our nation,” Smith said. “This is being prayed by thousands of people across the nation today.”
The National Day of Prayer has roots dating back to the Continental Congress in 1775 when colonies were asked to pray for wisdom for forming a new country. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer. President Harry Truman signed a resolution declaring a national day of prayer. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan set the first Thursday in May as the day for the National Day of Prayer to be observed.
“It is wonderful that we have the freedom to assemble and to praise God without fear of prosecution,” said Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey.
Elizabethton Mayor Curt Alexander noted it was the 63rd observance of the National Day of Prayer.
“It is fitting and proper that we acknowledge our blessings and we thank God for them,” Alexander said.