On the first Thursday in May, citizens and leaders in communities across our nation will gather together to pray for our nation. The Rev. Leland Crawford, pastor of First Baptist Church, invites our citizens and community leaders to come together and pray for our nation on Thursday, May 4 at noon in the church sanctuary.

The National Day of Prayer Task Force 2017 chose the theme: For Your Great Name’s Sake! Hear Us… Forgive Us…Heal Us! And is taken from the verse Daniel 9:19, “O Lord, Listen! O Lord, Forgive! O Lord, Hear and Act! For Your Sake, O My God…”.

Joining the Rev. Crawford for this special prayer service is the Rev. Bill Mills, praying for the President and United States government; Bro. Bill Hensley, praying for our military; the Rev. Jeff Ramsey, praying for our educational systems and families; the Rev. James Crain, praying for media in all forms; and Bro. Jim Wallace, praying for the church of Jesus Christ in America. Recording artist, Jacob Cowley will sing the National Anthem.

Crawford reminds us that throughout America’s history there have been critical times when our nation was called to pray and fast.

“Our nation is based on Biblical principles and our sovereign God,” Crawford said. “We often take for granted the freedoms we enjoy as Americans…and God’s blessings and grace on our nation. During the process of becoming an independent republic, our Founding Fathers called on the colonists to pray and fast. They prayed for divine intervention and wisdom.”

The first National Day of Prayer and Fasting occurred on July 20, 1775. The Continental Congress issued a proclamation to the Colonies to fast and pray: “As the Great Governor of the World, by his supreme and universal Providence, not only conducts the course of Nature with unerring Wisdom and Rectitude, but frequently influences the minds of Men… [to] avert those desolating judgments, with which we are threatened, and to bless our rightful Sovereign King George the Third, and to inspire him with wisdom to discern and pursue the true Interests of his Subjects, that a speedy end may be put to the civil discord between Great-Britain and the American Colonies… [and] that the divine blessing may descend and rest upon all our civil rulers, and upon the representatives of the people in their several Assemblies and Conventions, that they may be directed to wise and effectual Measures for preserving the Union, and securing the just Rights and Privileges of the Colonies…” Journals of Congress, Resolution for a Fast, June 12, 1775.

In 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed into law an annual National Day of Prayer. However, in 1988, the National Day of Prayer’s role in our history was fortified when President Ronald Reagan signed Public Law 105-225 stating: The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.

Ann Graham Lotz, Chairman of NDP Task Force impassions that “… at the same time [God] has been expanding NDP… at the very same time He has been increasing America’s awareness of the need for prayer. Without a doubt, God is moving in our nation, calling His people to pray as never before.” Lotz says that we “don’t have to look far to see the burdens and deep needs upon our beloved nation…. we as citizens have been blessed beyond comparison to life in most other nations. Therein lies the God opportunity… The opportunity is prayer itself to our Lord God, who really is all mighty.”

Lotz penned this year’s National Prayer which can be read in its entirety on the NDP Task Force website, www.nationaldayofprayer.org.

Her father, the Rev. Billy Graham, calls Lotz “the best preacher in the family.” Lotz speaks in conferences and events around the world. The New York Times named Anne one of the five most influential evangelists of her generation. She has appeared on TV programs such as Larry King Live, The Today Show, and HannityLive. She’s even been profiled on 60 Minutes. Lotz has written numerous books; her latest release is The Daniel Prayer: Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nation.

Anne and her late husband Dr. Danny Lotz have three grown children and three grandchildren. She is also the founder and president of Angel Ministries.

The FBC Prayer Ministry Chairman Roberta Kitchens says “Luke 18:1 tells us…that men ought always to pray.” The Prayer Ministry encourages the community to take time out for this appointed time to pray for our nation.”

After the prayer service, a complimentary lunch will be served.