The National Day of Prayer, Imperial County, had a different look this year as COVID-19 quarantine had Committee Chair Jeff Lyon tearing up the plan laid out by his volunteer team.
Suddenly a church auditorium, with the audio/video team ready, speakers, pastors, and the praise team chosen were put on hold with some assets not to come back.
To the rescue, and to not let the day pass by unnoticed when all of the United States comes together to pray for key institutions, Bob Sager of KGBA Christian radio station offered to take off the radio station’s lunch hour programming Thursday, May 7, and let the speakers and pastors speak and pray live.
Lyon said he jumped at the chance.
The National Day of Prayer is the first Thursday in May. Designated by the United States Congress, it asks people “to turn to God in prayer and meditation,” according to its webpage.
For many, prayer is an integral part of daily life. Prayer offers a rich connection to spiritual lives, nurturing relationships and faith. It also provides comfort in times of crisis or need.
People of many different faiths join in prayer on this day. In the past, many would attend the church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or monasteries of their choice to pray, while others might have attended interdenominational prayer events.
Two people entered the radio premises at a time, one asking for prayer and a pastor supplying prayer Thursday, May 7. The speakers were chosen to represent the media, church and family, law enforcement, and government. Jeff Lyon and Bob Sagar orchestrated the coming and going to keep all safe and introduced each team on the radio.
For media, Betty Miller of The Desert Review and Joseph Garcia of Gateway Church led the first of four teams followed by Dr. Gayle Cheatwood of Dental Vision Missions and Pastor Pastor Ekkie Tepsupornchai of Western Avenue Baptist Church. Pastor Chris Nunn of Christ Community Church prayed for law enforcement and first responders after El Centro Police Chief Brian P. Johnson detailed needed areas, and Wally Leimgruber of Holtville and past county supervisor spoke on local and national governmental problems and later his pastor, Hayden Norris of Holtville’s Cornerstone Church prayed for government leaders and institutions.
The prayer movement started in the early 1950s, when an evangelical rising called for Congress and the President to proclaim a National Day of Prayer, according to the NDP website. The movement grew and a young leader, Evangelist Billy Graham, led services for approximately 20,000 on the steps of the Capitol February 3, 1952. Later that year, Congress proclaimed a joint resolution for a National Day of Prayer. President Harry S. Truman proclaimed a National Day of Prayer to be observed July 4, 1952.
Each year since that date, Americans have observed the day in their own way, with this year’s being the most reserved and safety conscious. The Imperial County Prayer Task Force is comprised of Tim Blankenship, Jeff Lyon, Matt Littrell, Julie Reeves, Mike Beltran, Angel Ashbrook, and Alexes Romero.
The 2020 theme comes from Habakkuk 2:14, "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
The event was also live on KGBA radio station’s Facebook page and on its website.