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Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2011 12:00 pm

By Dan Galanffy

Special to the Daily Herald

Prayer has played an important role in America's history from its earliest days.

For example, during the Constitutional Convention, the proceedings were stopped due to discord and disharmony that had erupted, and the delegates agreed to spend a few days in prayer, after which time they came back together and skillfully drafted the Constitution.

Since that time, various presidents and military leaders have publicly acknowledged the need for God's divine intervention in the affairs of government.

Sometimes when facing a national crisis, leaders issued public requests calling upon the American people to unite in prayer, and often a national disaster was averted, or its impact reduced, because the people prayed.

Recognizing the importance of prayer, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation in 1952 establishing an annual National Day of Prayer, and subsequently designated the first Thursday in May as the official day for that observance.

Since then, multitudes of Americans have gathered annually from coast to coast to pray. It is estimated that during last year's observance, more than 2 million people attended some 50,000 prayer events nationwide.

The 60th Annual National Day of Prayer will be observed Thursday, May 5, 2011. A variety of prayer events will be held all across the nation: most likely at every state capitol, and at many county courthouses, city halls, churches, businesses, schools, parks and homes.

There will be indoor and outdoor events, large and small group gatherings, as well as individuals praying during their breaks at work, at school, or at home.

There are seven suggested areas of authority on which to focus our prayers: government, military, education, media, business, church and family. Prayer guides, sample prayers and resources are available as free downloads at www.praykilleen.com.

Of course, it is important to remember that sometimes the most effective prayer is simply saying, "God, I need your wisdom," or "God, help our family during this difficult time."

This year's theme, as established by the NDP task force is, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." The theme is based on Psalm 91:2, which states, "I will say to the Lord, my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust."

The public is invited to participate in one or more of the many prayer events in the local area, or to pray individually or corporately as they desire.

There is quite a bit of diversity of ethnic and religious culture to experience if opportunity permits visiting different prayer sites.

But our main goal is that through the National Day of Prayer, everyone's individual relationship with God is enhanced, bringing positive change to the spiritual "climate" of the area.

Following is a partial list of prayer-related activities in the local area.

MORNING PRAYER EVENTS

Iglesia Divina Misiericordia

205 Suite B Hallmark Ave., Killeen

4-10:30 a.m.

Open Arms Outreach

409 N. Eighth St., Killeen

6-7 a.m.

St. Luke United Methodist Church

102 E. Church St., Killeen

Korean & English prayer service

7-8 a.m.

Mountain View Baptist Church

2507 Cedar Knob Road (Cedar Knob at FM 2410), Harker Heights

7-8 a.m.

Body of Christ Outreach Center for the Pacific Islanders

211 W. Hallmark Ave., Killeen

8-9 a.m. coffee and tea fellowship

9-11:30 a.m. prayer

Cristo La Fortaleza

1703 Excel Drive, Killeen

8-10 a.m.

New Beginnings For All People

113 N. 20th St., Killeen

8-11 a.m.

First Baptist Church Trimmier

6405 Chaparral Road, Killeen

9-10:30 a.m.

Pershing Park Baptist Church

1200 Old FM 440, Killeen

9-11:30 a.m.

St. Joseph Catholic School

2903 E. Rancier Ave., Killeen

prayer begins 9:30 am (in the church)

Iglesia Ministerio Sanador

4200 E Veterans Memorial Blvd, Killeen

10-11 a.m.

First United Methodist Church

3501 E. Elms Road, Killeen

10-11 a.m.

Iglesia Monte Sinai

701 Stan Schlueter Loop, Killeen

10-11 a.m.

Praise and Deliverance House of Prayer

315 N. Gray St., Killeen

10-11:30 a.m.

NOONTIME PRAYER EVENTS

Killeen City Hall (council chambers)

101 N. College St.

free sack lunch for all, provided by KPLE-TV & Silver Eagle

noon-1 p.m.

Spiritual Fitness Center

33rd Street and Battalion Avenue, Fort Hood

noon -1 p.m.

Iglesia Nueva Vida (Killeen)

3709 Zephyr Road

contact: Ana Fifuentes 254-519-3126

noon-1 p.m.

Copperas Cove Library Conference Room

502 S. Main St.

noon -1 p.m.

Gatesville City Auditorium

110 N. Eighth St.

noon-12:30 p.m.

AFTERNOON PRAYER EVENTS

Iglesia Divina Misiericordia

205 Suite B Hallmark Ave., Killeen

1- 6 p.m.

New Beginnings For All People

113 N. 20th St., Killeen

2-5 p.m.

St. Paul Chong Hasang Catholic Church

Corner Verna Lee and FM 2410 (across from Harker Heights High School)

3-4 p.m.

ALL-DAY PRAYER

Metroplex Hospital

2201 S. Clear Creek Road

contact: Chaplain Jaime Guajardo (254) 519-8202

chapel open 24 hours for individual or small group prayer

Iglesia Divina Misiericordia

205 Suite B Hallmark Ave., Killeen

All Day Prayer Chain starting at 4 a.m.

Hillside Ministries

3601 Edgefield Drive, Killeen

free bottled water and prayer for all who drive by

9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

EVENING REGIONAL PRAYER EVENT

Bell County Expo Center

Loop 121, Belton

concert of prayer format in small groups

7-8:30 p.m.

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