FARMINGTON — People observing the National Day of Prayer on Thursday at Meetinghouse Park prayed at seven stations set up to represent seven centers of power in America: Government, church, military, family, education, media and business.
The theme for the 59th annual observance was Prayer! For Such a Time as This. Americans were encouraged to pray based on the Bible verse Nahum 1:7, acknowledging “the Lord is good and a stronghold in the day of trouble.”
Local organizer Bernadette Harvell is a member of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. She set up seven stations throughout the park for people to spend time praying silently or aloud at each. The Task Force’s mission, according to its literature, is to “communicate the need for personal repentance and prayer mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in seven centers of power: government, church, military, family, education, media and business.”
Attendees reunited later to sing “God Bless America.”
The noon program included music led by Evan Fellman of Farmington, a reading of President Barack Obama’s proclamation for the day by Harvell’s husband, state Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, and prayer by Pastor Jeff MacIntosh from Truth Pointe Assembly in Farmington.
Harvell, with help, she also planned a noon observance at Bass Park in Wilton.
This year’s National Day of Prayer came amid national controversy when a U.S. District Court judge from Wisconsin last month ruled the event, established by Congress and acknowledged with a presidential proclamation, was unconstitutional, according to Internet reports.
In addition, 2010 Honorary Chairman Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, was disinvited to participate in a National Day of Prayer service at the Pentagon because of his stated views on the Islamic religion and Muslims. The son of world renowned evangelist Billy Graham, Franklin and others did pray on a sidewalk outside the Pentagon on Thursday morning, according to published reports.
While the judge’s ruling is being appealed, President Obama kept the tradition last week proclaiming May 6 at the National Day of Prayer.
“Throughout our history, whether in times of great joy and thanksgiving, or in times of great challenge and uncertainty, Americans have turned to prayer,” Lance Harvell read from the president’s proclamation. “On this day, let us give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed upon our nation. Let us ask for wisdom, compassion, and discernment of justice as we address the great challenges of our time,” Obama wrote while urging citizens to “pray or otherwise give thanks.”