The Annual National Day of Prayer will be observed across the United States this week, as well as tonight, May 2, at the St. Francois County Courthouse in Farmington.
The American Family Association's 23rd annual St. Francois County National Day of Prayer ceremony will be held on the south lawn of the courthouse, located at 1 N. Washington St. Music begins at 5:30 p.m., with the ceremony following at 6 p.m.
In addition to the local event, more than 35,000 prayer gatherings will be conducted by about 40,000 volunteers across the country. Several million people are expected to participate in the call to prayer from small towns to state capitals to Washington, D.C.
The theme for the 2019 National Day of Prayer observance is Pray for America – Love One Another, based upon John 13:34 which reads, “Love one another. Just as I have loved you."
This year’s theme focuses on the importance of Christians to show God's love to their family, neighbors, friends, fellow Christians and even total strangers.
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“Jesus taught that we are and to love others as ourselves,” said Organizer Mike Ward. "The scripture for this year's National Day of Prayer is found in the book of John and emphasizes the importance of Christians relating to others with love — whoever they may be. By Jesus' death on the cross he showed the world that God's love and salvation is for everyone. Through Christ all of mankind is invited by God to have a personal relationship with him."
Ward added that it’s events like the National Day of Prayer that help believers to be more bold in sharing the gospel with those who have no personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
This year's guest speaker is the Rev. Dwight Jones, pastor of Harvest Christian Church in Park Hills. Music will be provided by Kevin Kappler. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. In the event of rain, participants will be directed to a location inside the courthouse.
The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress and signed into law by President Harry S Truman. In 1988, the law was unanimously amended by both the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, designating the first Thursday of May as a day of national prayer.
Every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families.