They won’t physically gather in churches or city parks or banquet halls this year, but hundreds of Alaskans will join believers around the nation to bow their heads and turn to God during the National Day of Prayer.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a proclamation recognizing May 7 as the National Day of Prayer, and stated that “faith has played a significant role in American history.”
“Many Alaskans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer,” the governor proclaimed, adding that it is part of “our spiritual heritage and the principles upon which our nation was founded.”
Launched in the early 1950s, the event typically involves tens of thousands of local gatherings around the nation. With COVID-19 restrictions in place the faithful are relegated to Zoom, Facebook and conference calls this year. Alaska will hold a statewide conference call from 7-8:30 p.m. It will include the state’s Commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka, Commissioner of Education Michael Johnson, Assistant Commissioner of Education Niki Tshibaka, and several other spiritual leaders and elected officials.
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Nationally, a two-hour prayer event begins at 4 p.m., which will be broadcast on GodTV, Moody Broadcasting , and Facebook live . Guests will include Rick Warren, Nick Hall, Michael W. Smith, Gabrielle Odom, and others.
Andie Rice, of Fairbanks, is organizing Alaska’s conference call. She said there is “great power and authority in our united prayers.”
“Some of the battle needs to happen in the privacy of our prayer closets, but many of the battles require the added force of unity,” Rice observed. “We are Alaskans, but we are also United States citizens. From Florida to Main, from Texas to Kansas, from California to Hawaii, we are all needed as we pray for the salvation, protection, and deliverance of our one nation under God.”
Eileen Becker, who is helping organize participation along the Kenai Peninsula, said COVID-19 has made the event different from past years.
“It’s been hard to organize this year,” she said. “It’s totally different because we’re not doing that much together in person.” But despite separation and social distancing, Becker said the day of prayer can unite believers together from across the state in one voice.
According to the National Day of Prayer (NDP) website, it is estimated that more than two million people typically participate in over 30,000 local observances across the nation.
“We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep,” Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman, states on the national website. “I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”
Since the nation’s founding, leaders have recognized the need for times of national prayer and fasting.
Gov. Dunleavy’s proclamation asks Alaskans to pray “for all citizens to be given the wisdom, guidance and opportunities to live enriching and fulfilling lives. In addition, we say a special prayer for all those serving in the military, as they have dedicated their lives in the service and protection of our great nation.”
He also expressed gratitude for the “many blessings and freedoms in our lives” and asked for the “continued safety and wellbeing of all citizens.”
Since the nation’s founding, leaders have recognized the need for times of national prayer and fasting. In 1808 Thomas Jefferson wrote that every society has “a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it.”
In 1952 President Harry Truman set aside a day each year as a National Day of Prayer. That law was amended in 1988 and signed by President Reagan designating the first Thursday of May as the official National Day of Prayer. Every President since 1952 has issued a proclamation encouraging all Americans to join together in prayer for the safety, well-being, and blessings of this nation.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
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