National Day of Prayer Goes on Despite Controversy
Last year over 40,000 events were held nationwide
Just last month, protestors, friends and family members of Trayvon Martin held a national day of prayer in Sanford, Florida for the slain teenager.
Martin, whose case has caught national attention in the last two months, was killed by vigilante neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman on February 26. Martin was unarmed at the time of the crime.
Today, National Day of Prayer is celebrated across the nation. The event was established in 1952 by an act of Congress and signed into law by former president Truman.
President Obama issued a proclamation on this year's national prayer day noting that “Prayer has always been a part of the American story.”
“Let us pray for all the citizens of our great Nation,” the 2012 proclamation continued, “particularly those who are sick, mourning, or without hope, and ask God for the sustenance to meet the challenges we face as a Nation. May we embrace the responsibility we have to each other, and rely on the better angels of our nature in service to one another. Let us be humble in our convictions, and courageous in our virtue. Let us pray for those who are suffering around the world, and let us be open to opportunities to ease that suffering.”
Recently, there has been debate about the day honoring prayer as many believe it violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This year, National Day of Prayer is even more significant because it falls on the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s famous Engel vs. Vitale decision, which ended prayer in public school.
But the controversy didn't hit Southwest Atlanta, Georgia.
In the Augusta section of the state, National Day of Prayer is being celebrated in several black churches; one of them being First Baptist Church of Augusat, according to The Augusta Chronicle.
August Mayor Deke Copenhaver and several other community leaders from the area were asked to pray by their community for the schools, law enforcement, government, heath care providers, businesses and churches.
“I firmly believe in the power of prayer,” Copenhaver said. “I believe the Lord is delivering on the prayers of the people of Augusta. … I believe we should give glory to God for the way he’s blessing this community.”
This year’s theme, One Nation Under God, was based on Psalm 33:12, which says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.”
Last year, 40,000 National Day of Prayer events were held nationwide.