“The overall purpose of the National Day of Prayer is to come together and pray together,” said the Rev. Sara Cash, a member of the local National Day of Prayer steering committee. “We are not looking [only] for Presbyterians, Church of God, Pentecostal, nothing like that. We’re crossing denominational barriers and anything that can stop us from coming to God as one body. The Bible tells us, ‘Pray without ceasing.’ That’s one of the [reasons why this event is important] and another one is we have seen results for many years.
“This is going to mark our 21st year that we’re celebrating National Day of Prayer in Bartow County and for many years, we prayed for revival. We’re seeing it now. For many years, we prayed for financial depression to be lifted. We are seeing that now. There are several companies coming into the area and that’s an answer to prayer. We’re not saying that it is because of us but we’re saying because God heard the prayer. So it is important that all Christians, everyone that believes that Christ is their savior, it is important for all of us to come together and cry out to God.”
Prior to the public program on Thursday, area ministers will gather in prayer at 11 a.m. inside the Bartow County Annex, also known as the old First Baptist Church, on West Cherokee Avenue in Cartersville.
“This year, the emphasis is going to be on elected and appointed officials,” said Cash, who also is the executive assistant to the senior pastor at The Church at Liberty Square. “At 11 o’clock, we are meeting at the Bartow County Annex with all the ministers and [their] spouses, whoever can get there. We’re going to pray with them first. Then we are inviting all elected and appointed officials and their spouses and families, if possible, to come and pray with them around 11:30.
“From there, they’re going to march together to the courthouse steps so they can show that we’re aiming for unity. We’re not waving any flags. We’re not saying we’re Democrats or Republicans or Independents. Anybody who wants to be prayed for, we’re inviting them to be there.”
Once the activities move outside at noon to the steps of the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Center at 135 W. Cherokee Ave., the ceremony will consist of prayers, a community choir and a proclamation reading. Delivering the closing prayer will be Bishop Pete Smith with House of Liberty Ministries, who is excited to take part in this year’s offering. Along with looking forward to attending the gathering for the first time, he also is serving on the National Day of Prayer steering committee.
“I had a couple of the clergymen here in the city to come and tell me what a great time [this event is],” Smith said. “And I definitely believe in the power of prayer. So when I got the invitation to get involved, my congregation seemed to be enthused because we had talked about it throughout the year. So I just thought it was [a wonderful] opportunity to get involved and give back to the community.
“It’s not your typical church service. You’re talking about dealing with our elected officials, our populous as a whole — the public and the private sector — which I am all for.”
Created by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1952, the National Day of Prayer was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman and is recognized annually on the first Thursday of May. Along with being the guests of honor, local government officials will play a key role in Thursday’s program. In addition to the observance being held at the courthouse, Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor as well as mayors from various municipalities have signed a proclamation to mark its significance.
For more information about the National Day of Prayer program, call The Church at Liberty Square at 770-382-9489.