Day of Prayer event held on courthouse steps

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 8, 2022

It was a pleasant day for the annual National Day of Prayer ceremony at the Lawrence County Courthouse on Thursday.

The event, put on by the Ironton Area Ministerial Association for the past three decades, drew approximately 100 people to the steps of the courthouse. The purpose was to pray for all aspects of American life.

Katrina Keith, the president of the Ironton Area Ministerial Association and a certified minister in Ohio and Kentucky and is a member of Christ Temple Church in Huntington, West Virginia, welcomed everyone and opened the ceremony with a prayer reminding people that if they weren’t rooted in something, they will be led astray.

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Coretta Phares, of New Jerusalem Christian Center, then sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and then again at the end of the ceremony sang “God Bless America,” to the applause of those in attendance.

The featured speaker this year was Evangelist Ya Ku Bu, who came to the United States from Nigeria to do missionary work. He said he appreciated that at least once a year, the nation gathered together to pray and call upon God.

“This nation was founded by men who sought freedom, freedom of religion. Specifically, freedom of Christian religion,” he said. “They established this nation in freedom in the word of God.”

Bu said the blessing of the freedoms established by scriptures made the United States the strongest in the world and the envy of other nations.

“But hear me, beloved, if we turn our back from God and he turns his back away from us, as has happened in several great nations, they collapsed,” he said. “That is why we need more prayer in America.”

Among the pastors that led prayers were Pastor Sallie Schisler, of the Christ Episcopal Church, who prayed for those in the arts and entertainment industry; Pastor Jeremy Sherill, of the Greater Faith Church, who prayed for the church as a whole; Bishop Issac Glover, of New Jerusalem Christian Center, who had cataract surgery on Monday, so he had his wife, Seraprena, pray for those in the education field; Rev. Terry Jones, of Resurrection Hope Church UMC, who prayed for the American family; Pastor Jeff Cremeans, of the City Mission Church, who prayed for all levels of the government; Pastor Carson Hunt, of the 1st Presbyterian Church, who prayed for the members of the military and first responders; and Pastor Kim Gabbard, of Impact Church and vice president of the Ironton Area Ministerial Association, who prayed for workplaces.

The first National Day of Prayer was on July 4, 1952, after it was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. A young evangelist named Billy Graham was a big part of the push to make it a national event.

Every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation. In 1988, the law was unanimously amended by both the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan designating the first Thursday of May as a day of national prayer.

President Joe Biden issued a proclamation on Wednesday for the National Day of Prayer.

“Throughout our history, prayer has been an anchor for countless Americans searching for strength and wisdom in times of struggle and sharing hope and gratitude in seasons of joy. In public reflections on life’s many blessings and in quiet moments during life’s most difficult trials, Americans of nearly every background and faith have turned to prayer for comfort and inspiration,” the president wrote. “Prayer is a sacred right protected by free speech and religious liberty enshrined in our Constitution, and it continues to lift our spirits as we navigate the challenges of our time.”