Editorial: Praying for our country, leaders on National Day of Prayer

Statler siblings Bella, 7, and Carter, 4, of Oak Ridge take part in a "park and pray" event with their parents, Paige and Rusty Statler, in passenger and driver seats respectively, March 2020 outside Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau.
Southeast Missourian file

The National Day of Prayer will be held on Thursday with gatherings around the country, including in this area.

Established in 1952 by Congress and signed into law by President Harry Truman, the National Day of Prayer calls on people to intercede on behalf of our country. It's a day of repentance and prayer, a time to seek discernment and wisdom found through our Savior Jesus Christ.

While the official Day of Prayer dates back nearly 70 years, the origins can be traced back to 1775 when the Continental Congress requested the colonies seek the will and wisdom of God for our nation. Great leaders and presidents have echoed these calls over the years, knowing even the most powerful individuals need the wisdom and grace of God in their lives not only for their sake but for the sake of the nation.

"Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it," said Thomas Jefferson in 1808.

Ronald Reagan, in his National Day of Prayer proclamation in 1982, said: "Through the storms of Revolution, Civil War, and the great World Wars, as well as during times of disillusionment and disarray, the nation has turned to God in prayer for deliverance. We thank Him for answering our call, for, surely, He has. As a nation, we have been richly blessed with His love and generosity."

On Thursday, a local gathering will be held at LaCroix Church. The service begins at 6:30 p.m. This event rotates each year between LaCroix, Cape First Church, Lighthouse United and Lynwood Baptist Church.

A livestream of the national observance will also be available online at nationaldayofprayer.org.

We encourage you to set aside time on Thursday, whether at an official event or in your own personal and private way, to pray. Pray for our country. Pray for our leaders -- the ones you support and the ones with whom you disagree. Pray for the end of the pandemic. Give thanks to the Almighty for all He has done -- both in your personal life and in the life of this country. And seek God's perfect will and discernment.