WAPAKONETA — First responders, educators and business professionals were singled out for praise Thursday during Auglaize County’s celebration of the annual National Day of Prayer.
The annual events, held each year on the first Thursday of May, took place virtually this year, with participants speaking electronically from remote locations to comply with Ohio’s social distancing mandates.
“In this difficult time, when we have to be in separate places, we’re excited to connect virtually. Especially in this time of national and worldwide need, joining our hearts in prayer is important,” said the Rev. Adrian Sunday, president of the Wapakoneta Ministerial Association and pastor of Buckland United Church of Christ, who kicked off the event.
Pastors from several Auglaize County churches urged local residents to pray for the military, police and fire department personnel, and a lay representative from one Wapakoneta congregation even asked for prayers for churches themselves.
“Dear God, help us weather this storm and maintain our faith in you,” said Rebecca VanMeter, from the First English Lutheran Church. “We are a community of believers. Help us help to lift up one another during this time of great need.”
The novel coronavirus was on the minds of everyone who took part in Thursday’s event,
Pastor Doug Pretorius of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church prayed for all businesses in Auglaize County that they may weather the current health and financial storm, while Pastor Josh Tissot of First United Methodist Church asked for strength for educators.
“We pray that Jesus continues to use teachers to impact the lives of our young people,” Tissot said.
Pastor Melodi Hagen of Trinity Lutheran Church asked congregations to pray for families who have been forced to deal with “lots of anxiety and the fear of the unknown” during the COVID-19 pandemic. She then led participants in The Lord’s Prayer.
Other pastors who took part in Thursday’s event included Lynda Lockwood of Salem United Methodist Church; Jon Braunstein of Harvest Baptist Church; Becky Sunday of St. Paul United Church of Christ; and Father Sean Wilson of the Petersburg Parishes.
The National Day of Prayer was established by the U.S. Congress, when people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” The modern law formalizing its annual observance was enacted in 1952.