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‘If my people… pray’

Minden observes 67th National Day of Prayer

City and parish officials, students, pastors, and residents turned out to First Baptist Church Minden yesterday to participate in the 67th annual observance of the National Day of Prayer.

Leland Crawford, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, was joined by pastors Robby Dale Williams of Saint Rest Baptist Church and Richard Methvin of Fryeburg Baptist Church as they led attendees in prayer for American government, churches, families, and more.

Since 1983, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a privately funded organization, has been organizing, coordinating, and presiding over the day of prayer. For 2018, the task force adopted the theme “Pray for America – UNITY.” The theme verse set by the task force is Ephesians 4:3: “Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

With this theme in mind, much of the prayer at the Minden event was for American elected officials, from the city to national level. Williams said it was important for people of all backgrounds to come together and pray for God to tear down barriers between peoples.

“We need a spark to get some things going in a positive direction as it relates to conquering the divide we have in Minden,” he said. “I’m not just talking racial divide, I’m talking economic divide, I’m talking political divide.

Prayer will help us bring about some harmony and some unity in our city.”

The First Baptist Voices of Praise choir opened the event with a medley of hymns, and the Minden High School Jr. ROTC presented the colors before prayer time began.

The first national day of prayer in America was called by the First Continental Congress as the new nation was moving toward independence. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called for a national day of prayer as the Civil War was coming to an end, appealing for “malice toward none, with charity for all… to bind the nation’s wounds.”

An annual day of prayer was first signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1952, and in 1988 Ronald Reagan set the day as the first Thursday of every May.

A full history of the National Day of Prayer, written by Pamela Davis, can be read in the Monday, April 30 edition of the Press-Herald.

Williams said the church, locally and nationally, needs to become the driving force for communities that it has often been throughout history.

“Government is important, it’s strategic, but the church of God throughout the annals of time has brought forth the change in the community,” he said. “I believe when Christians get together and pray, the Lord has promised to give an answer. If we’re going to move the world, if we’re going to change the dynamics of the world, then we do it through the power of prayer.”