Gathering for prayer

Community members, representatives from local organizations and area pastors came together Thursday afternoon to pray for the nation.

“It is important to be a  part of the National Day of Prayer,” St. Mark’s Lutheran Church pastor the Rev. Mark Bauer said at noon at Heritage Park in Wapakoneta as part of a nation celebration where American communities pray for their local leaders and the country. “We’re thinking about our community in partnership with other communities and the leaders and supporters of these communities.”

In 1952, Congress established National Day of Prayer as an annual event by a joint resolution and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, and in 1988, National Day of Prayer became designated as the first Thursday in May, according to the National Day of Prayer website.

The mission of the day is to mobilize prayer in America along with encouraging personal repentance and righteousness in the culture.

Representatives from each of the different prayer groups were present, including the Wapakoneta Mayor Rodney Metz, Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon, Wapakoneta Police Chief Russ Hunlock and Wapakoneta Fire Chief Kendall Krites.

Bauer kicked off the event by giving a greeting and welcome to more than 75 attendees who were present at the event, and Metz gave a proclamation dedicating May 3 as National Day of Prayer in the city.

The Rev. Adrian Sunday said the prayer for the military and it had an extra special meaning for him as a parent.

“My oldest son is serving in Afghanistan, so I am really honored to pray for the military,” Sunday said.

The Wapakoneta VFW Color Guard were the representatives for this prayer group.

“Lord, guard and protect our brave men and women who serve our country,” Sunday said. “May they seek your wisdom and come home soon.”

The Rev. Steve Nelson, pastor of First English Lutheran Church, gave the blessing for the educators in our community, with Wapakoneta High School Principal Aaron Rex serving as the representative.    

“I feel privileged to live and work in a community where there is support and a National Day of Prayer,” Rex said. “Jesus Christ plays a big role in our schools and we feel blessed to be able to pray at graduation, which is coming up here in a few weeks.”

Rex prayed for the safety of the students, especially the ones going off to college this fall, and that the all the students grow in Christ.

Nelson noted that he considered Rex as a shepherd for the students, especially when he would see him at high school basketball games in the fall.

“Mr. Rex takes his job seriously and protects his students,” Nelson said. “I see Mr. Rex as a shepherd.”

Nelson began his blessing by thanking the people who are committed to the children, including teachers, faculty members and all educators in the community.

“Without them, we would have no future,” Nelson said. “We are very grateful for all of them. We know what they do is much more than a job, it’s a calling.”

Other groups prayed for on Thursday included government, media, business, the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office, the Wapakoneta police and fire departments, churches and families.

The Rev. Becky Sunday lead the attendees in song, as America The Beautiful, God Bless America and My Country ‘Tis of Thee were sang.

The Wapakoneta Area Ministerial Society sponsored the event.