By Holly Wise
Killeen Daily Herald
Praying is natural to Pat Dalrymple, evidenced by her grasping the hand of the person next to her at the end of a conversation and asking if she can pray for them.
It's no surprise, then, that as the district coordinator for the National Day of Prayer Task Force, Dalrymple is at the helm of organizing events to bring church members and city residents together to pray for America and its leadership in seven centers of power: government, military, media, business, education, church and family.
National Day of Prayer Task Force members bustled around New Beginnings Assembly of God church in Harker Heigths on Thursday afternoon during a National Day of Prayer luncheon to honor pastors and military personnel.
"The purpose today is to honor pastors and military, and calling Central Texas to pray for the nation," Dalrymple said. "It's a way to get a larger group of people stirred up about what's coming on the fifth of May."
The 60th annual National Day of Prayer will be held May 5, the first Thursday of May, but Thursday's event was a precursor to notify area pastors and members of the armed forces of what they can take back to their churches and community members.
For New Beginnings Assembly of God Pastor Mike Tracy, the event served two purposes: to make awareness of the National Day of Prayer and to honor local servicemen and women.
One of the purposes of Thursday's event was to open dialogue with other pastors.
"Too often our own agendas separate us from perhaps the greater good God is doing," Tracy said at Thursday's luncheon.
NDP Task Force member Ruth Daniel said gathering together makes pastors aware and "encourages them and gives them a passion for praying for others. God said to go out in the whole world, not stay in our home churches."
The NDP was established as an annual event by Congress in 1952 and was signed into law by President Truman. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the NDP, according to the National Day of Prayer's website.
This year's theme is "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."
"He is our place of safety," Daniel said. "When He said He is our fortress, He meant it."
Just after a crowd of about 75 finished eating lunch provided by Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home, they were led to sing "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."
"It's not just a theme; it's a truth," Jon Tindall, member of the NDP Task Force, said to those gathered.
New Beginnings Assembly of God Church will host a National Day of Prayer event May 5, and will honor the 10 nationalities represented in the church by inviting people to pray in their native languages.
"People pray passionately when they pray in their language of origin," Tracy said. "There isn't that hindrance."
Several NDP events are scheduled throughout the Killeen-Fort Hood area May 5. A communitywide event is planned for 7 p.m. May 5 at the Bell County Expo Center.
Contact Holly Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7555.