MODESTO — Thursday is the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer, and community observances will be held in Turlock and Ripon.
In addition, a special prayer breakfast for educators will be held in Modesto, and a mayor's prayer breakfast in Turlock featuring Mark Speckman, an All-American football player and coach who was born without hands, will be held May 9.
The national event, which encourages prayer at noon Thursday, has the theme "Pray for America: emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to place their faith in the unfailing character of their Creator, who is sovereign over all governments, authorities and men." Matthew 12:21 is this year's Scripture verse: "In his name the nations will put their hope."
Greg Laurie, the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, is the honorary chairman who will pray at a gathering in Washington, D.C. He brought his three-night Harvest Crusade to Turlock in 2007, which drew more than 40,000 people.
More information on national and regional events is at http:// nationaldayofprayer.org.
Here's a roundup of local events:
Daylong "Concert of Prayer" from 12:01 a.m. to midnight. This one is listed by Victory Life Center in Modesto and is meant to be "a continual and ongoing prayer event from wherever you happen to be."
Modesto Area Educators Prayer Breakfast, from 6 to 7 a.m. at Downey High School, Room 1. Teachers, administrators, support staff, school board members and others are invited to "pray for our schools and our nation." Offering. R.S.V.P. to (209) 522-9568, ext. 111, or email Kazas.j@monet. k12.ca.us.
"Honoring God and Our Country," from noon to 1 p.m. at Fellowship Bible Chapel, 501 E. Canal Drive, Turlock. "Lift up our city, county, state and country as a whole, as well as especially praying for our governmental leaders that God would bless them with his wisdom and endurance." Free. Call (209) 818-8196.
Calvary Temple Baptist Church in Turlock plans an hourlong prayer meeting every night at 6:30 tonight through Saturday. "It will be a time of personal quiet with our Lord to intercede and listen to him," according to information posted at the National Day of Prayer website. "Bring your Bible. There will be a board to post your prayer requests." For more information, call (209) 410-1712.
The Ripon Community National Day of Prayer Service will be from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at First Christian Reformed Church, 305 Boesch Drive. The eighth annual Ripon service will include prayers from community leaders and local pastors focused on the city, fire and police departments; crops and industry; schools; the family; and the state and nation. Child care for infants and toddlers is available. Free. Call (209) 599-3225.
Vallecito event, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Mount Zion Biblical Garden at 4977 Parrotts Ferry Road. Representatives from government, the military, education, churches, medicine and family will speak on issues such as crime, addictive behavior, victims of catastrophes, abused children, etc., and will give possible solutions. Singers, ministers and others will lead in worship and prayer. Call (209) 736-0287.
Turlock Mayor's Prayer Breakfast, 6:45 to 8:30 a.m. May 9, is at Larsa Banquet Hall, 2107 E. Monte Vista Ave. "Come hear the incredible story of how Mark Speckman, who was born with no hands, was able to overcome his disability and become an All-American football player and a very successful high school (Merced) and college football coach. Come hear about the power of prayer in his life." Tickets: $20. (209) 602-6239 or visit www.turlockprayer breakfast.com.
Bee staff writer Sue Nowicki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2012.
Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, is the honorary chairman of this year's National Day of Prayer.
Here is the prayer he wrote to be shared in observances throughout the country:
Father, we come to you to pray for our nation, the United States of America.
How you have blessed us through the years, Lord! We rightly sing, "America, America, God shed his grace on thee." Yet we see trouble in our culture today. We see the breakdown of the family, crippling addictions and random acts of horrific violence.
Lord, we need your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove your word and your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have "forgotten God." But Lord, you have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.
Scripture tells us that "Righteous-ness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34) Lord, in your mercy, we ask that you would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape. As the psalmist said, "Will you not revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you?" (Psalm 85:6)
That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek your face and turn from our wicked ways, that you will forgive our sins and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much.
We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ.