By Matt de Simone
The Town of Troutville observed National Day of Prayer last Thursday at the town park. Pastors Terry Johnson of Troutville Church of the Brethren, Jeff Ritchey of Troutville Baptist Church, and Danny Quirin of Mill Creek Baptist offered prayers during the event.
The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” The president is required by law to sign a proclamation each year, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.
The modern law formalizing its annual observance was enacted in 1952 as part of the public reaction to the threats perceived in the Korean War, although earlier days of fasting and prayer had been established by the Second Continental Congress from 1775 until 1783, and by President John Adams in 1798 and 1799. Thomas Jefferson established a day of prayer and thanksgiving, but this occurred while he served as governor of Virginia.
The National Day of Prayer is celebrated by Americans of many religions, including Christians of many denominations, including Protestants and Catholics, as well as Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews, reflecting the demographics of the United States. On the National Day of Prayer, many Americans assemble in prayer in front of courthouses, as well as in houses of worship, such as churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. Luncheons, picnics, and music performances revolving around praying for the nation are also popular observances. Traditionally, the President of the United States issues an official National Day of Prayer proclamation each year as well.