Current and Archived News Stories
By Ruthie Jacobsen
The doors of the conference enter in our town, Hiawassee, Georgia, were scheduled to open at 7:30 a.m. on May 5, 2016, but by 6:45, people had begun to gather for our third annual prayer breakfast.
This year’s National Day of Prayer started out cool and overcast, but that didn’t stop area residents from two counties as they streamed to the center to pray. By the time the breakfast was served and the program got underway, there were nearly 800 in attendance. Our biggest group so far, we could only praise the Lord that so many came. Nestled next to the Hiawassee River, our town’s population is just a touch more than 900.
Prayer in History
In 1775 the first Continental Congress designated a National Day of Prayer for America as the new nation struggled to survive. In 1952 Congress established it as an annual event, signed by President Harry Truman. Since that time every American president has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.
In 1988 the law was amended and signed by President Ronald Reagan, designating the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer.
Each year, the National Day of Prayer Task Force introduces a theme and verse. This year’s theme is “Wake Up America;” and the Scripture is Isaiah 58:1.
On a Local Level
This is the one day each year for people of all faiths to come together and pray for local communities, state and federal governments, and for the needs of our nation. This year, nearly 50,000 gatherings were held on court house steps, city squares, churches and synagogues. Millions participated.
This is the third prayer breakfast we have planned for our two-county area. Each year it has grown and we’ve been amazed to see hundreds gather from all faiths to pray together.
Kids from the area schools sang, and local pastors and laypeople led in prayer. Dr. Henry Blackaby and his grandson, Michael, spoke. At the close, a private jet (provided by a local business) circled over the building with the pilot and passengers praying for our two counties. After the jet was at a safe distance, a red, white, and blue balloon launch, symbolizing our prayers ascending, marked the end of the morning event.
In Their Own Words
Many people were appreciative of the event. Here are a few of the comments shared with us:
"This was wonderful. So many pastors were here from the community churches to welcome us."
"Beautiful time together. I especially loved hearing the young people sing ‘I Believe,’ and ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’"
"I appreciated the special prayer for our high school seniors as they came to the platform to be prayed for."
"This has been such a great time of unity and sweet fellowship. Thanks for putting it together."
—Ruthie Jacobsen is the coordinator for NAD Prayer Ministries