National Day of Prayer observance emphasizes unity
by Marie Nesmith
May 02, 2014 | 1616 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Following the national observance’s call to worship in “One Voice, United in Prayer,” more than 1,000 believers across generational, denominational and racial lines participated in Bartow’s Day of Prayer ceremony. Held Thursday at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center in Cartersville, the celebration lifted up prayers in particular for local elected and appointed government officials and concluded a week of related offerings.

“We’re so glad that you are here. We want to welcome you to the National Day of Prayer,” said Dr. Jacob T. King, assistant pastor at The Church at Liberty Square and chairman of Bartow’s National Day of Prayer Committee. “In Bartow County, our theme this year for the National Day of Prayer centered around ... the word of God being read in every city of our county and believers coming together to pray for our local officials and our nation. This is the 63rd annual National Day of Prayer in America. There were several national days of prayer before the day was made official in 1952.

“This event traces its origins back to the Second Continental Congress. They proclaimed a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer to be observed by the English colonies in 1775. The proclamation to this end was sent to every town, and then Commander in Chief George Washington of the Continental Army acknowledged a second day of fasting and prayer in 1779. He even allowed the soldiers a day off to rest and to pray. In 1780, Congress announced a day of prayer. Many presidents have acknowledged a day of prayer from Washington to President [Abraham] Lincoln and finally in 1952 President Harry S. Truman signed the bill making a National Day of Prayer.”

He continued, “Former president Ronald Reagan said of the National Day of Prayer, ‘From George Washington’s struggle at Valley Forge to the present, this nation has fervently sought and received divine guidance as it pursued the course of history. This occasion provides our nation with an opportunity to further recognize the source of our blessings and to seek his help from the challenges we face today and in the future.’”

Prior to the public program on Thursday, area ministers, state prayer leaders, appointed and elected officials, and those running for office gathered in prayer at 11 a.m. inside Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church, then the group walked to the steps of the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center. Along with singing provided by a community choir, the celebration featured presentations from Parnick Jennings, King, Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor, the Rev. David Franklin, Kim Lewis, and the Revs. W.J.E. Coombs, Keith Wood, James Black and Joaquin Colon.

Created by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1952, the National Day of Prayer was signed into law by Truman and is recognized annually on the first Thursday of May. Prior to Thursday’s observance, Taylor as well as the mayors of local municipalities signed a proclamation to mark its significance.

Addressing the crowd, Taylor read the proclamation, which encouraged “fellow citizens throughout all of Bartow County to join us in earnest prayer for our [county], our state and our nation, asking that God’s light illuminate the minds and hearts of our people and our leaders, so that we may meet the challenges that lie before us with wisdom, courage and justice.”

Placing an emphasis on the power of praying God’s word, Bartow’s National Day of Prayer Committee offered countywide Prayer Gatherings and Read Through the Bible opportunities leading up to the May 1 observance.

Following the Prayer Gatherings at nine locations Sunday evening, Read Through the Bible events were conducted from Monday at 7 a.m. to Thursday at 9 a.m. at various sites across the county. More than 3,000 adults and children recited at least 15 minutes of Scripture during the event, enabling the Bible to be read in its entirety at 1903 Bartow County Courthouse’s front porch, 115 W. Cherokee Ave., Cartersville; Adairsville Gazebo, 105 N. Main St., Adairsville; Emerson City Hall, 700 Georgia Highway 293, Emerson; beside three crosses at Euharlee Baptist Church, 1103 Euharlee Road, Euharlee; Kingston Park Pavilion, West Main Street, Kingston; Taylorsville Town Hall Building (Old Fire Station), Euharlee Street, Taylorsville; and White Park Pavilion, Rocky Street N.E., White. Last week, the Bible also was read by inmates at the Bartow County Jail.

To highlight this effort, commemorative Bibles containing the participants’ initials were presented to the government official corresponding to each Read Through the Bible site during the National Day of Prayer observance Thursday.

Further details about Bartow’s National Day of Prayer can be obtained at www.praybartow.com. For more in-depth coverage on the Read Through the Bible offerings, see The Daily Tribune News’ Sunday edition, Page 1C.