The 65th annual National Day of Prayer will be held at noon on Thursday at First Baptist Church. The Rev. Leland Crawford is inviting the community to join in this special time to pray for our nation individually and corporately.
“Wake Up, America!” is the theme for this year’s event. The verse is Isaiah 58:1a: “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.” The National Day of Prayer Task Force chose this year’s theme and verse to emphasize the need for America “to return to the God of Fathers in reverence for His Holy Name.” The mission of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the culture.
Guest speakers set to join the Rev. Crawford are Warden John Lewis of Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center, Dixie Inn Mayor Ava Nell McWhorter, the Rev. Richard Methvin of Eastside Baptist Church and the Rev. Raymond Hampton of Mt. Zion C.M.E. Church.
Shirley Dobson will celebrate her 25th year as chairman of the task force. Encouraging communities and people of all faiths to pray for our nation, Dobson hopes to see the event’s participants “to move from a one day event to a lifetime endeavor” in praying for our nation.
Dobson is also an internationally recognized speaker, leader of women’s ministries, bestselling author, and a co-author with Gloria Gaither on a four-books series for families entitled: Making Ordinary Days Extraordinary, Creating Family Traditions, Celebrating Special Times with Special People, and Hide It in Your Heart. She is the wife of Dr. James Dobson, founder of Family Talk. The Dobsons live in Colorado and have two adult sons.
Dr. Tony Evans is the 2106 honorary chairman of the task force. For the past 36 years, he has served as the senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, witnessing its growth from 10 people in 1976 to now over 8,500 congregants with 100 plus ministries.
One of the country’s most respected leaders in evangelical circles and a frequent speaker at Bible conferences and seminars throughout the nation, Dr. Evans is also a best-selling author, having written over 60 books, including Kingdom Man, Oneness Embraced, The Kingdom Agenda, Marriage Matters and Victory in Spiritual Warfare.
Dr. Evans said that through his local church and national ministry, he “has set in motion a Kingdom Agenda philosophy of ministry that teaches God’s comprehensive rule over every area of life as demonstrated through the individual, family, church and society.”
Dr. Evans penned the 2016 National Prayer to be read in Washington, D.C. on May 5th. He writes: “The very ideals upon which this country was founded were based on biblical truths….” Hearts should be “broken over how [God] continue(s) to be marginalized and dismissed by both our people and our institutions. Our satisfaction in remaining religious without being fully committed to living out the truths of [God’s] Word has caused us to become co-conspirators with the forces of evil that are destroying us as a society.”
Dr. Evans currently serves as the chaplain for the NBA Dallas Mavericks Basketball Team, a ministry he has done for over 30 years; and is a former chaplain of the Dallas Cowboys. Dr. Tony Evans is married to Lois, his wife and ministry partner of over 40 years. They are the proud parents of four: Chrystal, Priscilla, Anthony Jr., and Jonathan as well as proud grandparents of 11: Kariss, Jessica, Jackson, Jesse III, Jerry Jr., Kanaan, Jude, Joel, Kelsey, Jonathan II and Kamden.
In 1775, the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, and it was then that a National Day of Prayer became a part of our country’s heritage. Many times since during our history, Presidents have called on citizens to pray, such as Pres. Lincoln proclaimed a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1988, President Reagan signed into law establishing the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday of every May.
The Rev. Crawford encourages the community to take time and sincerely pray for our city, communities, state, and nation.
“I believe in the power of prayer,” Rev. Crawford said. “The truths that make up the very fabric of our nation are being threatened. The face of our nation is changing.”
He encourages individuals to join together and pray for our country.
The National Day of Prayer will be followed by a light lunch in the reception room and open to the public.