Pastor Kevin Kappler of Pleasantview Church has been tapped to lead the American Family Association’s 20th annual St. Francois County National Day of Prayer ceremony set for Thursday evening on the south lawn of the St. Francois County Courthouse, 1 N. Washington St. in Farmington.
Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
In the event of rain, the service will be moved into the County Annex Building, 1 W. Liberty St.
Created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, the National Day of Prayer is an annual observance that takes place on the first Thursday in May, according to the National Day of Prayer Task Force website. The event invites people of all faiths to pray for the nation.
The National Day of Prayer theme for 2016 is “Wake Up America.”
According to the organization’s website, this year’s National Day of Prayer seeks to “emphasize the need for individuals — corporately and individually — to return to the God of our Fathers in reverence for His Holy Name.”
To further highlight the theme, organizers have chosen Isaiah 58:1a as the scripture for the year: “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.”
This year’s event begins with singing led by Kappler at 5:30 p.m. The prayer service will start at 6 p.m. with area pastors leading prayers for the various divisions of the government at the local, county, state and national levels.
Kappler stressed that the National Day of Prayer service is not limited to a particular denomination and that it offers people nationwide an opportunity to join together in prayer for the nation as a whole.
“The scripture teaches us that “the fervent prayer of a righteous man does much good,’” Kappler said. “You go to II Chronicles and the scripture teaches us that ‘if we humble ourselves and pray and seek his face, he’ll forgive our sin and will heal our land.’
“So prayer is the language between God and man. I always think it’s good if we can take the time to pray on behalf of our nation, our fellow brothers or just our society. It’s absolutely effective — scripture tells us it is.”
Kappler said he expects the event to wrap at about 7 p.m. Attendance typically runs from about 150 to 200, but the pastor said he’d like to see even more Christians participate this year.
“I’ve been involved in this county’s National Day of Prayer service for several years and in another state for three or four years,” he said. “Obviously we want to see people on board for this because this is their one day a year to come together as a community on ‘non-religious turf’ and say ‘we’re here because we love our country, we love our people and we believe in the power of prayer and how it affects us as people and as a nation.
“This gives us a chance to exercise that opportunity — and it’s like anything else. Things that are not used and exercised often, if we’re not careful, can slip away from us.”
The National Day of Prayer Task Force is a privately-funded organization that aims to encourage National Day of Prayer participation, according to the website.
“I always think it’s good if we can take the time to pray on behalf of our nation, our fellow brothers or just our society.” — Pastor Kevin Kappler
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or email@example.com