The National Day of Prayer will be observed at the Texas HEARTS Museum’s Storm Shelter on May 2, 2019 from 11:30 to 1:00 pm. This is the first year the event will be held in the Storm Shelter.
Doctor Alvin Jones, a retired family practice physician and educator from Huntsville is the event coordinator and explained the history of the event in the area.
“It originally started at the gazebo on the square in downtown Huntsville, but parking was so limited that it was difficult. They moved it from there to the City Hall area and again they had difficulty getting people into that area,” said Jones. The last three years it was held at First Baptist Church in their chapel, but again it was limited access and not many people could be there.”
The organizers decided that the Storm Shelter at the Texas HEARTS museum would provide a place that is centrally located and had the room and parking that was needed for the community according to Jones.
“We looked at it and wanted it to be community wide so we chose the storm shelter at the Hearts Museum which is very accessible to the community, and is not identified with anything other than the community, and so we felt that would be a better place for all the people of Huntsville to come.”
The Storm Shelter seats 500 and the event organizers will provide parking attendants and ushers to make access easy and efficient. There are nine separate prayers given by nine people each selected for their connections to the areas recommended by nationaldayofprayer.org according to Jones. The meal, drinks, and parking are free.
“We have invited all the churches. We have the Galilee Gospel Choir and the Huntsville Men’s Choir singing at the event. We plan to have a sack lunch at 11:30 as you come through the line, and then the prayer event starts at 12:00 and goes to 1:00” said Jones.
The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May and was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman according to nationaldayofprayer.org.
Doctor Jones outlined the program for the event. The prayer for our Government will be provided by a representative from Congressmen Kevin Brady’s office. A prayer for our Military will be given by Tom Fordyce of the Texas HEARTS Museum. A prayer for the Media Arts will be given by Carlos Hernandez who is a Deacon at Sam Houston State University. A prayer for Business will be given by Scott Francis of Edward Jones. A prayer for Education will be given by Scott Shephard of Houston Independent School.
Then there will be a break for special music which will be followed by a prayer for Church which will be given by Cass Corry of United Methodist Church. A prayer for Family will be given by Kathy Hazelwood of the Care Center. A prayer for Racial Reconciliation will be given by Chaplain Holmes of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice District Jones said. The final prayer will be for Spiritual Awakening will be given by the event coordinator, Doctor Alvin Jones.
Following the last prayer, the Huntsville Men’s choir and the congregation will sing “God Bless America.”
“I would specifically like you to get the message to all the religious groups and service groups at Sam Houston. We really would like as many from Sam Houston who can come be there.”
Doctor Jones remarked that America needs another religious revival and that historically other religious revivals have always started with young adults leading the way.
According to nationaldayofprayer.org the National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863 Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, "Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious 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."
It is estimated that over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances – organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers. At state capitols, county court houses, on the steps of city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes, people stopped their activities and gathered for prayer.
The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. Mrs. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman emeritus, reminded us: “We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”