The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. President Ronald Reagan fixed the event on the first Thursday of May.
The theme of this year’s event was “Prayer. America’s Hope.”
Kingsport held its prayer event Thursday at noon on the west side of City Hall with nearly 100 in attendance — many seniors, some mothers and their small children, and a few city employees and officials.
“I think we need prayers now more than we have in a long time,” said Mayor Dennis Phillips. “We have so many things ahead of us, and this economy is something we all need to join forces and pray about and hope we can overcome this.”
The 45-minute event featured five pastors from local churches, who took turns praying about a variety of topics — family, the community, our schools, the church and the economy. Attendees gathered in small groups, holding hands or with their arms on others’ shoulders, praying to one another about the various topics.
The event was also patriotic, with a 30-foot-high American flag flown from the ladder of a city fire truck and attendees saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the national anthem and “God Bless America.”
The Rev. Clark Jenkins, pastor of First Broad Street United Methodist Church, led off the prayers with one for the country, the state and the city.
“We gather from across the nation on this National Day of Prayer. We have put our trust in a lot of things. It is now time to put our trust in you,” Jenkins said. “This prayer is for our nation, for Tennessee, our county and for Kingsport.”
Andrew Amodei, assistant pastor of First Broad Street UMC, said a prayer for the economy and our families.
“This past year we have seen how hard times can become. We have seen how our dependence upon the things of this world can weigh us down, can cause us to fear and become anxious,” Amodei said. “Our prayer this day is we do not succumb to fear, that we would not despair and our trust would be in you and you alone.”
The Rev. Richard Dice, pastor of King’s Highway Temple, prayed for our schools and for God to raise up godly teachers.
“We pray for the schools of today, the teachers, the professors, the instructors. All of those involved in the educational process of this great nation,” Dice said. “We ask you from the depths of our heart Father to give us godly teachers, godly influences for the young men and women of this nation.
“Bless the school systems, the men and women who are teaching, and give them courage to teach that child an example of a godly life.”
The Rev. Paul Becker, pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church, prayed for the families of America, asking for God to restore and strengthen the family.
“We pray for the families in the Armed Services. Those who are putting their lives on the line, the families of police, fire and emergency personnel and all those who love and serve their neighbor,” Becker said. “We bless all aspects of family in the name of Jesus this day. We lift up the institution of the family to you Lord, because it came from you.
Doug Tweed, pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church House of Prayer, said a prayer for the church.
“For this noontime here in the city of Kingsport, we are the church. We are your sons and daughters. We are here to be a part of the family business, of redeeming this world,” Tweed said. “We lift up your name and we declare as your church, we stand on the truth. You are the savior of all creation, and we thank you Jesus.”
Alderman Larry Munsey, who is also an ordained minister, closed out the event and included a prayer for a woman in attendance experiencing some health problems.
“Father we are so thankful for the privilege of service to our God, to our community and to our fellow man. We pray you will endow us with knowledge that will help us make decisions that are in keeping with your will for us and wishes of our citizens,” Munsey said. “We love you as a community, we love you as a nation, and we ask that you go with us and bless us Lord in all we do.”