Just before his New Castle High basketball team departed for its state championship game in March, head coach Ralph Blundo stood on the stage at Riverwalk Park.
There, he thanked the crowd that had assembled, calling the backing of the community just as integral to the Red Hurricane’s success as the work of the players themselves.
That same sentiment echoed once again from at park yesterday during the National Day of Prayer, when local pastors entreated residents to support those on the front lines of leadership.
“We acknowledge today from your word that you are the one who established governments, you have established authority and you have commanded us in your word to pray for those in authority,” the Rev. Ron Eade prayed.
“Today we come before you humbly and ask your blessing upon those who are in authority in this country.”
The Church of Genesis pastor asked for God’s guidance in the lives of the governed as well.
“You have blessed us with the opportunity to be alive in a country where we have the option to vote for those who are in office,” he prayed. “We are in a position where we able to disagree, we are able to say things without fear of imprisonment or death.”
Later, he added, “God, I pray today that you would protect us from putting politics above you; that even when we disagree with those in authority over us, that our lives would be exemplary of what a Christian ought to be; that our love for you would be reflected in the way that we treat those who are in authority over us.”
The National Day of Prayer invites people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. On May 8, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the designation of the first Thursday in May as the annual observance for the day.
In addition to government, yesterday’s lunchtime event (which was to be followed with a second gathering last night) included prayer for the military, churchs, families, education system, media and businesses. It concluded with a joint reading of a Prayer for the Nation, written by 2014 honorary National Day of Prayer Task Force Chairman Anne Graham Lotz.
In her prayer for education, the Rev. Marsha Parrish asked for students’ minds to be opened to understanding, for teachers to be able to reach their students, for administrators to lead their districts wisely and for parents to be a help to their children.
She prayed also for the education of children in the churches.
“Help them to learn the stories of Jesus, help them to be strong in their faith so that they are prepared and willing to go out into the world,” the pastor of Oak Grove and Mount Hermon Presbyterian churches said. “Help us as pastors and teachers and elders to be able to teach them those precious stories and those precious songs that will be their foundation for going into the public arena.”
With the Neshannock Creek, swollen by several days of rain, behind the assemblage, Hector Marquez of Two Rivers Artisan Coffee Works prayed for a rebirth of godly focus in the “media mountain.”
“I pray, Father, that you would release new creativity, a tremendous flow of artistry,” he said, “that this world would be overcome with good; that your spirit would just rush forward, even as we’re by the river today, that it would be like a mighty rushing river that would saturate every corner of the globe that’s exposed to media with hope.”
(To view Dan Irwin’s photo gallery from the event, CLICK HERE.)