By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Portales residents took part in the National Day of Prayer Thursday with several events designed to bring the community’s faithful together for the purpose of prayer.
About 50 people gathered at noon around the gazebo at the Roosevelt County Courthouse to pray. Steve Smith, minister of University Baptist Church, started the prayers as the group joined hands around the gazebo. Others then offered prayers in turn.
“We’re concerned for what’s going on around our country,” Fern Moreland said. “A nation that turns away from God loses everything. We have to keep turning back to God, knowing he’s the source for everything.”
June Taylor noted that this year’s National Day of Prayer theme is “America, Honor God,” based on 1 Samuel 2:40, which reads: “Those who honor me, I will honor.”
“That’s the significance of having a national day of prayer,” Taylor said. “That our government allows us to publicly honor God.”
For many the day symbolizes unity as a nation and a community, and a way to express that unity.
“We need to have unity,” Portales resident Butch Allen said. “Unity is something that is really lacking in our country. If we can come together in unity and have God honor that, we can do great things.”
The local events connected with National Day of Prayer were coordinated by the ministerial alliance. Other events included a community worship and prayer service Wednesday evening at New Testament Baptist Church and a prayer breakfast Thursday at the Baptist Children’s Home.
Portales resident Capt. Donald Bridges, chaplain at Cannon Air Force Base, gave the message at the Wednesday night service with about 70 in attendance. He said the devotional at the prayer breakfast as well.
Winston Berry, associate pastor at the First Baptist Church and one of the alliance’s organizers for the event, says while prayer is a very personal thing for many people, coming together in community prayer has its place.
“It breaks down the denominational boundaries, and we bring all denominations together for one day to pray for our community, our state and our nation,” Berry said. “It’s impossible for one church to have a big impact, but all our churches together can have a much bigger impact.”
Eileen Loveall, who said she was born in England and came to the United States as a war bride, echoed others’ thoughts about the day creating unity.
“I came from England, and I thank God I walk this ground,” Loveall said. “I really, really believe this is home to me.”
Loveall said that Americans need to stand behind the president 100 percent, regardless of who that person is or what political party they belong to.
“There’s lots of failure in our government,” John Moreland of the Christian Children’s Home said. “There’s a great need for prayer for our president, our judges and our judicial system.”
According to the National Day of Prayer Task Force’s Web site, a national day of prayer was first observed in the nation in 1775 when the Continental Congress called for one. Congress set aside a National Day of Prayer in 1952, and in 1988 that law was amended to make the day the first Thursday in May each year.