National Day of Prayer set for May 4

Published 9:38 am Thursday, April 13, 2017

Butler County’s spiritual leaders will be making a plea for its citizens to raise their voices on May 4 during the annual National Day of Prayer.

This year’s event, like the countless ones before it, will be held at Greenville’s city hall at noon, and will feature a number of faces from the Butler County Ministerial Association offering prayer on a wide variety of subjects, including: government, military, the economy, education, churches, families, first responders and much more.

Rev. Allen Stephenson said that in the 60-plus years of the annual event’s existence, rarely has the occasion been more important.

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“Never in the history of our country is prayer more needed, not only for our country but for our state, as well,” Stephenson said.

“This past year has been one of the most challenging years.  The country seems to be divided, and we need to be faithful to pray, because prayer is the answer.”

The National Day of Prayer’s history extends far beyond its existence within Butler County.

The very first call to prayer was held in 1775, predating the formation of the United States by a year, as the continental congress met and asked the colonies to pray for wisdom as they attempted to form a new government and a new nation.

The call to prayer continued through history, including President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863 of humility, fasting and prayer, as well as a joint resolution in 1952 by Congress signed by President Harry Truman declaring a National Day of Prayer.

And though attendance has ebbed and flowed throughout the years, Stephenson hopes that a desire for change will overcome apathy, which he called the greatest enemy of prayer.

“Quite frankly, we have been disappointed with the crowds in the past,” Stephenson said. “We feel like the most important thing we can do as Americans, besides maybe paying our taxes, is to lift our country up in prayer. 

“This ought to be the most well-attended event of the year, because we can actually do something to help our country.  And that’s our hope, that people will come and share in the prayers, and that they will hear it and pray themselves.”