MORRIS – The 63rd annual National Day of Prayer was recognized Thursday in Morris at Living Water Church of the Nazarene, with area ministers, the public and students from Immaculate Conception School in attendance.
The group gathered prayed for nine areas of interest: government and government leaders; armed forces; law enforcement, fire department and first responders; family; children and youth; education; economy; church; and repentance.
“All 50 governors and the president have declared this National Day of Prayer,” said Pastor Rich Giovannetti, Grundy County coordinator of the event and pastor at Standing in the Word Ministries. “Our nation needs prayer. We need God in America. It keeps us secure, safe and focused.”
According to nationaldayofprayer.org, the National Day of Prayer tradition predates the founding of the United States, evidenced by the Continental Congress’ proclamation in 1775 setting aside a day of prayer. In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer and in 1988 that law was amended, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May.
“There are thousands of different groups gathered together today,” Giovannetti said.
Father Ed Howe, Immaculate Conception Church priest, said we sometimes forget that the founding fathers founded America “under God.”
“For whatever reason, we try to hide God in a lot of different places,” Howe said. “The call to prayer was important to the founders of our country. In some circles, it has become forbidden, and we have to ask, why?”
Students from ICS attended to pray with the community as well as sing in the program.
“It’s an opportunity to participate in an ecumenical event. Our children are allowed to pray throughout the day. This gives them a chance to join other denominations in prayer,” ICS Principal Kim DesLauriers said.
The event opened with a introduction to the purpose of the event, which was themed “One Voice, United in Prayer.”
“Without shame, we want America to know we are a praying people,” Giovannetti said. “We are not ashamed to say one nation under God.”
Howe then spoke a prayer that was passed out via the National Day of Prayer organization website, so that everyone who attended an organized event Thursday would be reciting the same prayer.
The Morris Color Guard was on hand, as well as Marine Sgt. Rafael Estrada and Staff Sgt. Martin White to present the flags.
“The flag is a symbol of our nation,” said Jerry Terando, of the Morris Color Guard. “As citizens, let us pray for our leaders.”
Area pastors then took turns reciting prayers.