National Day of Prayer celebrated
For 32 years, the first Thursday in May has been a National Day of Prayer, and this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, prayer services were observed mostly online as well as in person.
Only a few people, some of them wearing face masks, gathered in front of the Clark County Courthouse to hear pastors from several local churches pray, read Scripture and talk about the significance of the occasion. But country music radio station WSKN 104.9 broadcast the event, and two television cameras were set up to livestream the service on Grace Baptist Church’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
The Winchester-Clark County Association of Churches also aired the service, and some churches used their feed on their own websites.
“By design, we really didn’t want a large crowd to gather because of the restrictions,” the Rev. Pat Finley of Grace Baptist Church, which hosted the event, said.
The irony of it, though, is that across the country, the National Day of Prayer probably had its largest audience ever, on Facebook Live and YouTube, Finley said.
To stay under the governor’s recommendation for social gatherings, the number of preachers who gathered was limited to less than 10. There were eight pastors who took part: Scott Ogle, Ryan Dotson, Mike McCormick, Bill Keller, Whit Criswell, Todd Rader, Tony Stang and Finley.
While the pastors prayed about the deadly virus, the prayers were mostly for “God to do a work in our nation,” with the understanding that must begin at the local level, Finley said.
“The heart of it is getting us in the place we need to be with the Lord,” he said.
The theme of this year’s National Day of Prayer was based on Habakkuk 2:14 (NIV) — “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
The National Day of Prayer is a Judeo-Christian expression of faith through public prayer, although people of all faiths are invited to pray, according to the nationaldayofprayer.org website.
In 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a congressional resolution creating a National Day of Prayer, and in 1988, President Ronald Reagan established the first Thursday in May as a nationally-recognized day for the event.