EDITORIAL: Take a moment today for prayer

May. 02, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Today is the National Day of Prayer.

There will be events to mark this sacred day here and around the United States.

Here in Lee County, observances will begin at noon at the Sanford Municipal Building flagpole and the Veterans Memorial Park. In addition, the Lee County YMCA will hold its National Day of Prayer luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at St. Luke United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Bruce MacInnes, who is local coordinator for the National Day of Prayer, says that “America needs God’s intervention as never before, and he has always proven that he will come to our aid if we repent of our sin and call upon his name. The sins of our land are more than personal; they are sins of government and of society in general.”

MacInnes wrote in a Herald article, “The word of God promises that if God’s people will ‘humble themselves and pray and seek his face, then he will hear from heaven and heal their land.’” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

President Barack Obama, in his proclamation for this year’s National Day of Prayer, wrote:

“Americans have long turned to prayer both in times of joy and times of sorrow. On their voyage to the New World, the earliest settlers prayed that they would ‘rejoice together, mourn together, labor, and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work.’ From that day forward, Americans have prayed as a means of uniting, guiding and healing. In times of hardship and tragedy, and in periods of peace and prosperity, prayer has provided reassurance, sustenance, and affirmation of common purpose.

“Prayer brings communities together and can be a wellspring of strength and support. In the aftermath of senseless acts of violence, the prayers of countless Americans signal to grieving families and a suffering community that they are not alone. Their pain is a shared pain, and their hope a shared hope. Regardless of religion or creed, Americans reflect on the sacredness of life and express their sympathy for the wounded, offering comfort and holding up a light in an hour of darkness.

“All of us have the freedom to pray and exercise our faiths openly. Our laws protect these God-given liberties, and rightly so. Today and every day, prayers will be offered in houses of worship, at community gatherings, in our homes, and in neighborhoods all across our country. Let us give thanks for the freedom to practice our faith as we see fit, whether individually or in fellowship.”

The president went on to say, “I join the citizens of our nation in giving thanks, in accordance with our own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and in asking for God’s continued guidance, mercy, and protection.”

We encourage those who are so inclined to participate in one of these local observances. At the very least, feel free to take a moment for your own prayer time. Better yet, why not take time each and every day to say a prayer, especially for our cities and towns, counties, states and nation — and, most especially, our fellow man.