More than 2 million Americans are expected to participate in the historical National Day of Prayer, through some 40,000 local events and a 3-hour live-stream broadcast from around the world, Thursday May 6, 2004.
This year’s theme, “Let Freedom Ring,” is based on the Judeo-Christian scripture, “… proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all its inhabitants” – Leviticus 25:10.
While the event is not exclusively catered toward Christians, a bulk of the observances will take place in churches and cathedrals, and will be lead by various pastors and lay leaders. Tens of thousands of churches will also get involved by ringing their bells simultaneously at noon to invite their communities to unite in prayer. Many churches also plan to hold bible studies and services as part of the observance.
“We’ve blanketed the area to businesses all the community, and I hope we could have a good crowd,” said Penny Sachs, National Day of Prayer Coordinator for the Ontario Chapel Creekside community in California. “Who knows how the good Lord will bless us; maybe we’ll get a couple of hundred.”
According to Sachs, those interested in joining for prayer will gather at the Calvary Chapel in Creekside, and will not only pray on the five topics listed on the National Prayer Day website, but also on the meaning of prayer itself.
“We will have several main prayer topics,” said Sachs. “But first we will open up with a sermon on the significance of prayer, and we’ll learn of the reason we are called to pray.”
Dubbed, “The Freedom Five,” this year’s main prayer topics as listed by the National Day of Prayer Committee are: government, media, education, church and family.
Many of the observers have also expressed a personal reason to take part in the national movement. Among them is Hampton Harmon, a 9 year-old student at North Myrtle Beach Elementary School in South Carolina.
"Prayer is cool because I am getting to know God better, and that makes me feel good," said Hampton. "I will just thank him for my friends, family and the love we share."
Karen Wright, director of Christian education and pastoral care at St. James the Fisherman Episcopal Church in Shallotte, N.C., will ask God to watch over schools everywhere.
"The more we learn about God and our faith, the more we grow in our spiritual walk," Wright said.
The Rev. Richard Hartman, pastor of Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church, who will lead a prayer-service in Connellsville Pennsylvania, said he prays for a nation under God.
"It's a time to come together to pray for our nation, “ said Rev. Hartman. “The ministerium hopes that people will pray for our nation every day. This is a nation under God.”