The ad slogan says it all: Now, more than ever.
Our community and our nation needs prayer - now, more than ever.
A nation that was founded by people of faith has had a somewhat rocky relationship with religion in recent years. Scratch the surface of just about any hot issue - immigration, Sunday alcohol sales, the war - and you'll find conflict with faith at its core.
More often than not, competing interpretations of Biblical passages put people of the same faiths on opposite sides of an issue, all of it liberally salted with the earthly biases of those in contention.
Perhaps if there is anything on which such intramural squabblers can agree, however, it would be the need for prayer.
It is somewhat appropriate for our polarized times that the National Day of Prayer was first declared as an annual observance by a Democratic president (Harry S Truman) and permanently set on the first Thursday in May by a Republican (Ronald Reagan).
The need for prayer, however, goes beyond mere political issues - especially this close to the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech. This community felt the family's pain at the loss of Lakeside High graduate Ryan Clark, and then experienced along with the family the healing power of prayer.
Though debate over their views on the lines between religion and politics will never be settled, the founders of this nation also proclaimed the power of prayer. Benjamin Franklin called for the Constitutional Congress to be opened with prayer to the Almighty, because "without his concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel."
Surprisingly, Franklin's motion failed - but only because the fledgling nation lacked the money to pay chaplains.
Fortunately for Columbia County, many local pastors and church members are volunteering their time for the annual prayer day observance Thursday morning. The event begins with light breakfast and fellowship at 7:30 a.m. at the Columbia County Library, with a service of prayer and music following in the Performing Arts Center. It's all free.
And it's needed - now, more than ever.
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