May 2, 2002

National Day Of Prayer On Friday

"America United Under God" the 51st annual National Day of Prayer theme is a poignant reminder of the tragedy that brought together a nation.

As our service men and women defend the United States in distant lands and families try to heal from the tragedies of September 11, the National Day of Prayer (NDP) invites millions of Americans to once again join in prayer across denominational lines.

This year's local NDP event is being hosted by the Scotland County Ministerial Alliance and St. Paul Lutheran Church and is being held at the Presbyterian Church in Memphis at 7:00 p.m. on May 2. The time of prayer will be followed with refreshments.

The Scripture verse adopted for the 2002 observance is, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). This theme is especially meaningful given the world's instability and the promise of an uncertain future.

"America was rocked by the horrific evil perpetrated on September 11, and many have sought meaning, security and spiritual comfort in its wake," said Mrs. Shirley Dobson, Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. "It's no surprise that Americans have drawn closer to God as our country's forefathers did when faced with unseen enemies and unrest."

NDP organizers expect the crowds to be unprecedented, far surpassing the millions who attended the 30,000 local events held nationally last year. Participants will gather at courthouses, businesses, around school flagpoles, in places of worship and public arenas. Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, Chaplain of the United States Senate, has written a prayer that will be read at noon; the President will authorize a special proclamation; and all 50 governors are expected to sign documents recognizing the occasion.

"Now more than ever, it's imperative to pray for our leaders," said Mrs. Dobson. "We're hoping the first Thursday in May will be a date when many recommit to regularly asking God to provide protection, peace and direction for our country, our president and all those who must make crucial decisions."

The National Day of Prayer tradition dates back to February 19, 1975, when President George Washington issued a proclamation setting aside a day of public thanksgiving. An annual day of prayer was established by Congress in 1952 and specifically designated in 1988 as the first Thursday in May.

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