MADISON – Hundreds gathered at the Boone County Courthouse on Thursday, May 1st, in observance of the 63rd National Day of Prayer, and many of those in attendance were kids.
“We need to teach our young people the importance of prayer and how to pray,” said Boone County “Teacher of the Year” Chis Bias, who is also a teacher sponsor of the YCI club at Madison Middle School. “Seeing all of these young people here today gives me hope, but there is more work to be done.”
Bias said churches and community leaders must do more to help the children in their communities.
“Our local children are dealing with family issues, the illegal drug epidemic and so many other things in today’s world,” he said. “It’s a tough time to grow up and they need our help to learn about morals and values.”
As part of the YCI club at Madison Middle School, Bias said that about 250 students voluntarily take part in the program to spread the word of God among their peers.
“This club needs to be in every secondary school in West Virginia,” said Bias. “This exciting event can be part of making that happen.”
“Reaching the world for Christ through youth” is the motto of the YCI-WV.
“We currently have 12 YCI clubs and we are currently in every secondary school in Boone County and our goal is to expand to all the other secondary schools in southern West Virginia in 2014,” said Christie Barnhart, Director of Ministry Development for Southern West Virginia.
Barnhart said the organization was founded in North Carolina to return prayer and Bible study to the country’s schools through YCI student clubs.
“We encourage everyone to get involved with this faith-based, motivational club for students that will ultimately benefit the local youth of southern West Virginia,” she said.
The hour-long ceremony opened with praise and worship singing by local artists, followed by a variety of guest speakers.
A pamphlet distributed at the entrance to the courthouse outlined the goals of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
Organizers said the annual event, which takes place on the first Thursday of each May, gives the local community and churches the opportunity to pray for churches, members of the military, government officials, families, schools, businesses, the media and the nation as a whole.
Pastors, and other church leaders, organize the hour-long ceremony that began with a parade and proclamation read by the County Commission President Eddie Hendricks.
On April 17, 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law. Then, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law decreeing that the National Day of Prayer should be held on the first Thursday of May.
The 63rd annual National Day of Prayer will have profound significance for our country, according organizers.
“It is an unprecedented opportunity to see the Lord’s healing and renewing power made manifest as we call on citizens to humbly come before His throne,” said national organizer Anne Graham Lotz, the 2014 Honorary Chairman. “Our theme for 2014 is One Voice, United in Prayer, emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to place their faith in the unfailing character of their Creator, who is sovereign over all governments, authorities, and men. To further highlight our theme, we’ve chosen Romans 15:6 as our Scripture for this year: ‘So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’”
Nationally, prayers were simultaneously read throughout the nation at noon (EDT).
“This recitation will create a huge wave of prayer, flowing from one coast to the other, illustrating the unity of God’s people and acknowledging His dominion over the circumstances facing us,” Lotz said. “Millions of people will gather to pray at thousands of events facilitated by our volunteer coordinators and people just like you. We hope you’ll join with our staff again as we seek to bring more communities than ever before together in prayer.”
At this crucial time for our nation, we can do nothing more important than pray, Lotz added.
“Don’t make this a one-time event. Pray for the nation every day. The church can turn this country around,” she said. “Prayer is so powerful and the National Day of Prayer is important.”
The hour-long ceremony ended with group prayers, where participants join hands for a closing prayer.