Day of Prayer provides opportunity for reflection

Americans of all faiths will gather today to participate in the National Day of Prayer.

Held on the first Thursday of May, the event has been set aside as a day to ask for the help of a higher power for our communities, our states and our nation. The annual event has been held nationally since 1952.

Salem’s observance will begin at noon in front of the Chamber of Commerce. Today will mark the 13th such event being held in the city. All are invited to attend the multidenominational service.

Prelude music will begin at 11:45 a.m. courtesy of the talented students and staff from Allegheny Wesleyan College. Scripture readings and prayer will be delivered by pastors and lay people. The seven areas of prayers will include government, military, media, business, education, church and family. Well-deserved special recognition and prayer will be accorded local safety and emergency forces, both active and retired, who have been invited to attend and be recognized.

In addition to local observances Thursday, the national observance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. The event will be streamed live at nationaldayofprayer.org, as well as the organization’s Facebook page.

The tradition originated with the 1775 Continental Congress proclaiming a National Day of Prayer. In 1789, President George Washington: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty.

Presidents throughout our country’s history have spoke about the necessity of prayer across our grand nation. In 1988, the National Day of Prayer was legislated by Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan.

This year’s theme is “Love One Another,” which is based on John 13:34, which reads “Love one another. Just as I have loved you.” Certainly a pretty good approach for any of us to embrace.

It’s an appropriate theme, one that offers a reminder that prayer needs to be an integral part of the solution to our problems especially now during very trying and difficult times that our country is confronting and also given challenges that most of us face on a daily basis.

During this day and age when we hear about this right and that right, we must remember that the right to practice our faith is one of the greatest freedoms we enjoy as Americans. The National Day of Prayer continues to offer a great opportunity to use that freedom as a way to bring about positive change. We laud those making certain that such a day is held in our fair city and in other regional locations.