Alongside other believers from across the country, thousands of Collin County residents set specific time aside “to turn to God in prayer and meditation” during the National Day of Prayer in May. The idea of a national day of prayer was introduced by the Continental Congress in 1775; however, it was not until President Harry Truman signed the bill in 1952 that the observance would become a federal law. Locally, prayers voiced at several events staged throughout the day ranged from prayers of blessing and support for our national and local leaders, to calls for individual repentance.
As the day began, people gathered for the Collin County Christian Prayer Breakfast. Nearly 1,000 people packed the banquet hall of The Plano Center for a time of praise and worship. Participants concentrated prayer for our nation, and heard testimony from Lt. Col. Allen B. West. Col. West who spoke of America’s heritage as a Christian nation, and encouraged them to stand firm on that foundation of faith.
During his address, West encouraged believers to be engaged with the political process, reminding them the concept of the separation of church and state is not written into the US Constitution, or any other government documents, However, this doctrine is pulled from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson where he cautions that heads of state should not also be heads of church, which was the case in England at the time the letter was written. (Continued on Page 25)
Each year, the event is hosted in part by Gateway Church in Wylie. Gateway pastor Blake Switzer said one of the highlights for him came when West talked about people criticizing him for various positions he takes. His response was, “I used to jump out of airplanes with 200 pounds of gear in the middle of the night while serving in combat. Do you think your criticism is going to get me off track? Please!”
Later that day, under sunny spring skies believers from a variety of churches assembled in one of McKinney’s parks for a cross-denominational service hosted by the McKinney National Day of Prayer Task Force. McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller read from a proclamation adopted by the city council. “At a time now, more than ever, American children need reaffirmation that God, family values, personal responsibility, and a steadfast belief system are essential to our future prosperity, and it should not be abandoned out of political correctness or expediency as we deal with everyday concerns of society, economy, morality and equality; and, the power of prayer and the power of God through prayer, have been at the core of the shared American experience throughout history,”
The program included music provided by The All City Worship Band and prayers for repentance, government, our military, the media, business, family, education, and our youth, each lead by a different church or community leader.
The McKinney First Baptist Church hosted a final event that evening where many gathered to pray. The service included the reading of several essays written by students about the importance of prayer and the National Day of prayer.
“The National Day of Prayer…leads us in the right direction to heaven. Prayer also helps those who are suffering, lose family, getting divorced, people who are outside wondering if they are ever going to be able to have clothes on there back, food on the table or a warm shelter for the winter,” wrote rising 7th-grader Arianna Harrison in her award-winning essay. “So the reason why I believe we should celebrate the National Day of Prayer is because prayer changes everything!”