By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun
Groups of the faithful will be gathered on the grounds of the Navarro County Courthouse Thursday, in recognition of the 62nd National Day of Prayer, which always falls on the first Thursday of May.
Various church groups have volunteered to take 30-minute shifts at the courthouse to pray for the nation, as well as the state and local community.
It’s not hard to get people out for this particular effort, according to Father Ed Monk of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
“After 10 years, they’re used to coming out to do it,” he said. “We just let them know we’re doing it.”
Churches also take different approaches to the project. For example, the Episcopal church has a book of common prayers which includes prayers for the nation, Monk said. That guide will take up about half the church’s half hour.
“And I encourage people to walk around for 15 minutes and pray for the people in the courthouse,” he said. “We have that marvelous memorial full of names of people who have served and died and it’s a wonderful thing to get people to stop and pray for each of those people by name. That’s a wonderful way to pray for our country is to pray for those who have given their all for it.”
First Baptist Church hosted a free breakfast, and then had a devotional scheduled for immediately afterwards. They also provided members with a prayer chain, and committee hosts to pass out prayer guides to those who came for the church’s half hour.
The First United Methodist Church encourages members to spend time visiting with each other, and then focusing on specific issues, explained Jay Fraze, associate pastor.
“Different groups do it in different ways,” he said. “The way we did it as a church last year, we got together at our time and visited with the people we were relieving, and about five or 10 minutes afterwards we began to pray. We just prayed one after another about any topic on our heart as related to National Day of Prayer.”
After greeting those who were running late, they did a second round of prayers.
“Some come and pray and then go sit at various places around the courthouse to pray silently,” Fraze said.
Among the recommended scriptures for this year are Matthew 12:21, which states: “And in his name the Gentiles will hope,” according to the New American version. Also, I Timothy 2:1-2, which states: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty,” according to the Cambridge translation.
The churches will take 30 minute shifts for 12 hours starting at 7 a.m., according to Pastor Dan Layne. A community-wide prayer service will take place at 7:14 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 320 N. 15th Street. The time is significant as a reminder of II Chronicles 7:14, which states: “...And if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land,” according to the New American version.
The speaker at the service will be Father Jason Cargo from the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Layne said.
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