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Lessons from American history and passages of scripture highlighted a special ceremony in observance of the National Day of Prayer, Thursday, May 9 at Christian Academy of Carrollton.
Students and faculty at CAC observed the event during a commemorative assembly in the school’s new gymnasium facility.
Students, teachers, parents and a number of visitors sporting bright orange shirts made especially for the observance, recited pledges to the American and Christian flags and to the Holy Bible. Students Eli and Luke Ackermann played “The Star Spangled Banner” on saxophone. The assemblage joined in singing the modern praise hymns “God of Wonder,” “How Great is Our God” and “Word of God Speak.”
In remarks to the student body and guests, CAC Administrator Katie Matson explained that the mission of the National Day of Prayer Task Force is “to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership.”
Matson gave a brief history lesson about the importance of prayer in the United States as “a vital part of our heritage.” From the nation’s first call to prayer in 1775, “when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history,” she said. During the nation’s darkest hours of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer” in 1863, Matson noted.
In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Harry Truman, declared an annual, national day of prayer, according to Matson. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Ronald Reagan, permanently establishing the day as the first Thursday of every May.
“Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day,” she said.
Observances of the National Day of Prayer “have always had great significance for us as a nation,” Matson said, noting special significance for Christian schools. “It enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call to us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. Prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.”
Matson expressed disappointment over an announcement by the White House that no official ceremonies will be held at the Executive Mansion, or attended by the president this year.
Guest speaker, the Rev. Chris White, pastor of Carrollton First Baptist Church, read from a passage in St. Mark’s gospel about an incident in which the disciples were arguing among themselves about who would be the greatest in Christ’s kingdom.
In this account, “the disciples are focused upon what will make them first or what will make them strongest,” White said. “We often daydream about being the strongest and not having to worry about being pushed around by bullies, or we daydream about having a brain large enough so that we don’t have to worry about tests anymore, or daydream about having a bank account so large that we don’t have to worry about bills anymore.”
White told the students there is responsibility that comes with being the first, the most, or the strongest. He recalled the poverty he witnessed in the Philippines and other countries while serving abroad with the United States Marine Corps. “Wherever you go, it’s always good to come back here,” he said.
“We as Americans have been blessed more than other nations.” Americans shouldn’t be focused on “how much more we have than others, or how much stronger we are than others,” White said. “We’re blessed in order to share. We need to pray that we might use our blessings and our strength for generosity to help others.”