This year’s theme will be “Prayer ... America’s Hope.” Local activities for Thursday’s observation are being organized by Denise Bonecutter, Alice Click and Erewanna Jeffrey, chairpersons of the Mason County Prayer Taskforce.
This will be the 58th year for the national event, and local activities have been taking place annually since 1982. Click said the day will provide an opportunity for millions of people across the country to unite in prayer and observe this year’s theme, which is based on Psalm 33:22: “May your unfailing love rest upon us, oh Lord, even as we put our hope in you.”
Click added that the National Day of Prayer is an event that is deeply rooted in American heritage.
“This is a tradition that we expect to continue,” she said. “From the earliest days of our republic, we can find prayers that were written and quoted in speeches by our presidents and congressional leaders.”
Click said the group is hoping for a large turnout Thursday and added that the crowd size varies each year depending on the weather. Despite the elements — she said they’ve prayed in rain as well as extremely warm and very chilly weather — the local event has never been canceled in its 27-year history.
Click said the event, which will last approximately one hour, will feature speaking by Pastor Ron Branch and singing by Lisa Searls. Randy Parsons will serve as emcee, and a special tribute will be observed in memory of Wally Hart. In addition, members of Gospel Lighthouse Church will conduct a presentation about the American flag.
She also said that past observations have included tributes for members of the military, and she said the local event saw one of its largest crowds the year following the terrorist attacks in September 2001.
According to its Web site, the National Day of Prayer Taskforce was a creation of the National Prayer Committee for the expressed purpose of organizing and promoting prayer observances conforming to a Judeo-Christian system of values. People with other theological and philosophical views are free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs. This diversity is what Congress intended when it designated the Day of Prayer — not that every faith and creed would be homogenized, but that all who sought to pray for this nation would be encouraged to do so in any way deemed appropriate.