By Dan Galanffy

Special to the Daily Herald

The National Day of Prayer was officially established as an annual observance in 1952 by Congress, and was signed into law by President Harry Truman.

This law was amended in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan's administration designating the first Thursday in May each year as an official National Day of Prayer.

Year by year since then, millions of people have gathered in a variety of public and private venues for prayer and worship on the first Thursday in May.

It is estimated that more than 2 million people attended some 50,000 prayer events last year in observance of the National Day of Prayer.

Throughout the nation, at state capitols, county court houses, city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes, people stopped their activities and gathered for prayer.

Thursday will be the 59th official observance of The National Day of Prayer, and several prayer-related events are scheduled around the Central Texas area, including a regional program Thursday night at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton.

It will be a day for Americans of all religious traditions to set aside differences and pray - acknowledging dependence upon God, thanking Him for His love and mercy, and inviting His continued intervention in their lives and in the affairs of the nation.

The theme for this year's Day of Prayer is "For such a time as this," reminding us that we are living in a crucial time in history.

The chosen scripture passage for this year is Nahum 1:7, "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him."

There are seven suggested areas of focus for prayer: the family, the church, the government, the media, the education system, the military and the business community.

Prayer is first and foremost a personal matter, and people are encouraged to take time to pray alone as their beliefs direct, and as their circumstances permit - at home, during a break at work or school, etc.

Many people also desire to pray in agreement with others in small or large groups.

A variety of opportunities will be available in the Killeen area throughout the day at various times and locations.

Individual prayer - Killeen

Anyone who may be looking for a private place to pray is welcome at the following location:

Metroplex Hospital

2201 S. Clear Creek Road

contact: Chaplain Jaime Guajardo

phone: (254) 519-8202

The chapel is open 24 hours for individual or small-group prayer.

For all who will be driving in southwest Killeen, there is a "drive-by" prayer location available:

Hillside Ministries

3601 Edgefield

contact: Pastor Angel Valencia

phone: (254) 258-7505

Free bottled water and prayer available to all who drive by 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Morning prayer events - Killeen

The following locations have scheduled organized prayer events involving various diverse groups coming together in unified prayer:

Body of Christ Outreach Center for the Pacific Islanders

211 W. Hallmark Ave.

contact: Tausinio "Nio" Silao

phone: (254) 768-0284

Prayer and fellowship focusing on strengthening unity among the diverse Pacific Island ethnic groups

8-9 a.m. - coffee and tea fellowship; 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. prayer

First Church of the Nazarene

951 Stagecoach Road

contact: Pastor Rick Moore

phone: (254) 634-7676

Continental breakfast and organized prayer event

8-10 a.m.

First United Methodist Church

508 N. Gray St.

contact: Elaine Passman

phone: (254) 634-6363

Organized prayer event

10-11 a.m.

Pershing Park Baptist Church

1200 Old FM 440

contact: Pastor Joda Weston

phone: (254) 634-1013

Organized prayer event

9-11:30 a.m.

Praise and Deliverance House of Prayer

315 N. Gray St.

contact: Elder Charles Watson

phone: (254) 371-3147 or (254) 371-9037

Organized prayer event

11 a.m. -1 p.m.

True Deliverance Ministries

508 Hall Ave.

contact: Valerie McKenzie

phone: (254) 613-3312

6-7 a.m.; 7-8 a.m.; 8-9 a.m.; 9-10 a.m.; 10-11 a.m. (Spanish); 11 a.m.-noon

Noontime events

in Central Texas

Everyone is particularly encouraged to attend the noontime prayer event that happens to be closest to them during the noon hour:

Copperas Cove City Hall

507 S. Main St.

contact: Ed or Peggy Thompson

phone: (254) 290-1550

noon-1 p.m.

Comanche Chapel (Fort Hood)

contact: Chaplain Joel Lytle

phone: 254-288-6543

Prayer and a message by guest speaker S.R. Manohar

noon-1 p.m.

Killeen City Hall

101 N. College St.

contact: Wil Brewster

phone: (254) 501-7878

Free sack lunch provided for all who attend

noon-1 p.m.

Temple Municipal Building

Main & Central

contact: Pat Dalrymple

phone: (254) 742-1029

noon-1 p.m.

Afternoon event

- Harker Heights

Catholics and non-Catholics are all invited to be a part of the following afternoon prayer event:

St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church

1000 E. FM 2410, Harker Heights

contact: Marilyn Dombroski

phone: (254) 526-4483

Organized prayer event

4-5 p.m.

Evening regional event - Belton

Everyone in Central Texas is invited to attend this regional prayer event. The format for this year's evening event will be somewhat different than in previous years, allowing for more participation by those in attendance.

Bell County Expo Center

Loop 121, Belton

contact: Pat Dalrymple

phone: (254) 742-1029

Regional Prayer Event in a "Concert of Prayer" format focusing on the government, military, education, business, media, church and family 7-8:30 p.m.

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