THE ISSUE: ‘Pray for America’
OUR VIEW: Observance should not be politicized as we fear 9-11 effort will be
Orangeburg will observe its 19th annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Thursday at The Cinema. The featured speaker will be retired Charleston Southern University head football coach Jay Mills.
The event begun by the late Mayor Martin Cheatham coincides with the National Day of Prayer. It’s theme is “Pray for America.”
Praying for the country is what the National Day of Prayer is all about.
In 1775 the Continental Congress allocated a time for prayer in forming a new nation. Over the years, there were calls for a day of prayer, including from President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer.
The National Prayer Committee was formed in the United States in 1972. It went on to create the National Day of Prayer Task Force, with the intended purpose of coordinating events for the National Day of Prayer.
According to the Legal Information Institute, the president shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.
Through the efforts of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, more than 35,000 prayer gatherings will be conducted by about 40,000 volunteers across the United States. Several million people are expected to participate in this call to prayer.
As this year’s observance takes place, there is a movement to create another national day of prayer. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is a high-profile supporter of a 9/11 National Day of Prayer and Fasting.
“I join together with other Americans who have called for September 11, 2013, to be set aside as a day for personal prayer, reflection and fasting, for ourselves and for our nation,” Bachmann said in a statement.
“At this time of national mourning, as we search for comfort in the aftermath of this loss of innocent life, we would be wise to consider afresh 2 Chronicles 7:14: ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land,’” she said.
The nation should have no problem with Sept. 11 forever being a day of national prayer, fasting — and grieving. The worst attack ever on American soil will never be forgotten.
Our concern is attempts to make such a prayer day a political statement. It is being proposed and pushed via petition by Joseph Farah — founder, editor, and CEO of WND.com, formerly known as WorldNetDaily. Farah is the author of “The Tea Party Manifesto.” His 2003 bestseller, “Taking America Back,” predicted the rise of the tea party.
Recently, Farah published a column, “A day of prayer and fasting,” calling for the first observance on 9/11/13.
“There’s been a tremendous outpouring of support for this idea,” Farah said. “I’m hearing not only from thousands of Americans from coast to coast, pledging participation, but also from members of Congress, from top Christian leaders, even from the media.”
Farah should not be surprised at the voices of support from people of all political persuasions. Prayer is important, with or without a second day specifically designated nationally. Christians believe every day is and should be about prayer.
Meanwhile, Orangeburg’s prayer observance produly goes on with continued support and success. Tickets for this year’s breakfast remain available at $10 and can be purchased at the Regional Medical Center Chaplain’s Office, 803-395-2356; Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce, 803-534-6821; Orangeburg City Hall, 803-533-6000; Centrex Promotions, 803-531-8503, or from Pastor Nate McMillan, 803-268-0690 or 803-747-1803.