EL CENTRO — With attendees sharing in personal and community prayer and worship, Christ Community Church in El Centro hosted a Concert of Prayer Thursday, May 4 in observance of the 66th Annual National Day of Prayer.
Churches from Brawley, Imperial, and El Centro were represented, as leaders and members from different congregations led participants in an organized evening of prayer. The Color Guard from the Naval Air Facility in Seeley opened the evening with a presentation of the colors, and Valley singer, Jenna Lyon, led in the National Anthem.
“For Your Great Name’s Sake” was the theme of this year’s National Day of Prayer, a day which is set aside every first Thursday in May. The annual National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution from Congress, and was signed into law by former President Harry S. Truman. The bill was initiated by Mr. Conrad Hilton of Hilton Hotels and a senator from Kansas. Their desire was for the President to set aside a day each year, other than Sunday, as a National Day of Prayer. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed an amendment to the law, which permanently set the date of observance as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, honoring the day and encouraging United States citizens to pray.
According to the National Day of Prayer Task Force, in 2016, all 50 state governors and the governors of several U.S. territories signed proclamations similar to that of the President, and encouraged Americans to pray on that day. The National Day of Prayer Task Force also estimated that over two million people attended events with more than 30,000 observances, which were organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers.
In the Imperial Valley, many gathered on school campuses and churches to pray for the nation. The Concert of Prayer held in El Centro brought people of all denominations together, and Pastor Dan Bruce of Faith Assembly Church in Imperial performed an original song in honor of this year’s theme. Local pastors each took turns saying a few words and leading participants in prayer for different issues and needs.
The night consisted of quiet, personal prayer, as well as congregational prayer. Gene Brister, a former mayor of El Centro and current president and CEO of KXO Radio, emceed the evening and read aloud the theme verse from Daniel 9:19. Worship music was provided by the Faith Assembly Worship Team.
Additionally, participants were given time to go to the front of the stage and share words of encouragement and thanks publicly. The evening ended with a special prayer over the pastors who were present, along with their wives and children.
According to the Imperial Valley’s National Day of Prayer Task Force, the purpose of this was to signify unity in the body of Christ. Members said their mission is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance, and righteousness in the culture.