PORTSMOUTH — Thursday, May 5, 2016, is the National Day of Prayer (NDOP). In light of this fact, local pastors and clergy share their thoughts regarding the importance of prayer as it relates to the local community and United States overall.
David Smith, pastor of Evangel Temple Assembly of God, said the Scioto County Ministerial Association’s (SCMA) involvement in the NDOP dates back more than 20 years.
”We started out in the early 90s at City Hall, and some of our members would attend, and others from the community in small number,” Smith said. “More recently, we began the prayer at the courthouse, which I believe was spearheaded by Mark Ferreira who was here locally with the Salvation Army at the time. He (Ferreira) was working with the ministerial organization in New Boston, actually spearheading it, and invited us to participate, and it has just continued from there.”
Smith said he believes NDOP makes a greater impact upon the nation with churches coming together.
“Prayer brings people of differing groups together that otherwise would not be for the single purpose of praying and certainly focuses on a theme that is biblical,” Smith said. “When people get together and pray, as a nation and pray for repentance, pray for changes. Spiritual issues are far more important. As hard as it might be, we can recover from economic down-turns, and things of that nature, but when we go into moral decline, and spiritual decline there is no recovery from that. Those are problems that no government can overthrow, but when the church comes together on a much broader scale as National Day of Prayer, that is extremely healthy.”
Pastor Vincent Kennedy Jr., of Living Faith Temple in Portsmouth, said prayer is essential for our families and communities.
“I believe that the National Day of Prayer is very important, especially in a country that has been founded upon good, Christian values,”Kennedy said. “Prayer is definitely needed for the time that our country is in right now. Prayer for our families. Prayer for our communities, the drugs, and everything that is going on in the community, and the effects of it. We need prayer for a financial breakthrough in our region also. Prayer is very needed.”
Faith can be expressed across the U.S. on NDOP, according to Pastor Vicki Bays of Victorious Life Worship Center in New Boston.
“The National Day of Prayer is an opportunity for faith to be expressed all across America and a unified cry for matters of concern, i.e., our families, our nation, our troops as well as our future as a nation. God promises to hear us and answer, 2 Chronicles 7:14,” Bays said.
Pastor Margaret Tyson, of Allen Chapel A.M.E in Portsmouth, and Quinn Chapel A.M.E.C in Ironton, urges America to wake up and return to being, “One Nation Under God.”
“Wake up America. In these times of international upheaval and internal political fear mongering, it is important for us as these United States of America, to come back to the understanding of ourselves as ‘One Nation Under God,’ to move toward healing, understanding and love,” Tyson said. “The clarion call to prayer as a nation is important to our sense of balance and well-being.
“It is important that we ground ourselves in the love of God our Father as we step out of our doors onto streets paved with fear and mistrust, in times of struggle and strife along a highway of racial divide, economic injustice and social insecurity. If we’ve ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need him now. Psalm 1 33.1 says, ‘Behold how good and how pleasant it is when we live together in unity.’ So, let us come together and pray for our nation.”
Senior Pastor Tim Roth, of Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, suggests that lack of prayer could possibly be one of mankind’s greatest disappointments.
“I have a feeling that one day when we stand before God at the end of our lives, one of our greatest disappointments will be that we didn’t spend more time praying,” Roth said.”When we see life from the perspective of eternity, when we understand the power of prayer, when we understand how our prayers change the future; we will be disappointed we didn’t spend more time in prayer. Praying is important and the Bible talks about praying for those on positions of authority. On this National Day of Prayer Cornerstone joins many others around the country and world praying for our leaders and nation.”
Associate pastor Frank Lewis, of New Life Family Worship Center in New Boston, said he looks forward to partaking in scripture reading at the Scioto County Courthouse, and that NDOP is one of the most important days nationally.
“I read the bible every day, so it is really second nature to be a part of the National Day of Prayer bible reading. I look forward to it every year,” Lewis said. “I really can’t think of a more important day nationally than the National Day of Prayer. God tells us in Chronicles if we will humble ourselves, turn from our wicked ways and turn to him, he will hear us from heaven and heal our land. Our land needs to be healed like no other time in history.”
SCMA works with Connie Weaver, of Mabert Road Baptist Church in Portsmouth, annually to schedule local community members to read from the Bible in the lobby of the Scioto County Courthouse during the week of NDOP. The scripture reading began Monday, and convenes through the NDOP each year. The conclusion will be with prayer at 3 p.m. with a gathering of local community members and clergy.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.