Day of Prayer goes unrecognized by city and county

Published 2:04 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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Last Thursday was the National Day of Prayer and except for seven people who showed up at the courthouse and did their own hour of prayer, there was no organized Day of Prayer this year inside the courthouse, nor on the steps, or lawn.
In the past, the service has been organized by the Carter County Ministerial Association with several ministers in the community participating. Evidently, the Ministerial Association is no longer active in the community.
We applaud a small group from the Union Hill Free Will Baptist Church which has a prayer service once a month on the courthouse lawn, and we encourage more people to attend and participate.
It seems that we have forgotten the power of public prayer. No, we don’t have to have a public gathering to pray…we can do it in our closet at home. But, the National Day of Prayer is an opportunity to publicly pause and reflect on both our nation’s blessings and opportunities.
As the country careers from crisis to crisis and from confusion to chaos, Thursday’s call to a National Day of Prayer was more than just a nice thought. It was an opportunity to pause and reflect on who we are, who our Heavenly Father is, and thank him for His many blessing and His love and care.
The international crises of the ongoing war in Ukraine, the possibility of conflict with China over the future of Taiwan, as well as the growing unrest in Africa, the Middle East and now South America, is adding daily to conflicts already experienced within this country. The recent violent death of five Texas residents by an illegal immigrant who was on the lam from both Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) as well as other Texas jurisdictions, leads the headlines. Almost every week there is a mass shooting somewhere in our country.
Adding to these real physical threats, the nation is wandering about in a state of befuddlement as to what constitutes male and female, which is further confusing our conversations, let alone our highly susceptible youth.
Considering all these facts, it is time to stop for one moment and reflect on all that we enjoy and challenge the reasoning for allowing its destruction. It’s time for a prayerful pause.
This call for a National Day of Prayer has historic relevance, beginning with the founding of our nation. Even before the split with what was at the time the most powerful nation in the world, England, leaders called for not only prayer but also fasting to seek divine guidance, and in the process, conduct serious introspection about the cause and solutions to the problems. Even Benjamin Franklin, a self-described deist who put less concern in the belief of God and more into living a moral life, proposed a general fast and prayer which was approved by the Pennsylvania President and Council in 1747 to seek God’s covering as the country faced constant raids by French and Spanish insurgents.
At his urging a notice was published in the Pennsylvania Gazette, “We have…thought fit…to appoint…a Day of Fasting & Prayer, exhorting all, both Ministers & People…to join with one accord in the most humble & fervent supplications that Almighty God would mercifully interpose and still the rage of war among the nations & put a stop to the effusion of Christian blood.”
Through every major calamity and threat the nation has faced in its 300-year arc of history, our leaders have come to the conclusion that mankind is not the answer but the root of the problem. In 1863, facing the greatest threat to a unified nation President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer: “The awful calamity of civil war…may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people…We have forgotten God…We have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become…too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins.”
As conflicts rage around the world and within the borders of our great nation, as national leaders grapple with debate between reality and perception, the time for a pause is needed. Whether it is for spiritual guidance or for just a moment of introspection, we as a nation, state, city, and county need to publicly appreciate, honor and respect the values and sacrifices that have made this country a beacon of home and freedom.
Hopefully, we can do better and observe the Day of Prayer at a public gathering when it rolls around next year.

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