Mark Jonas blows the shofar to open the National Day of Prayer event held locally at the Legislative Affairs Building in Kenai on Thursday.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
Though the 56th annual National Day of Prayer observance wasn’t held until Thursday, people on the Kenai Peninsula didn’t let that stop them from celebrating the meaning of the event several days in advance.
Since Sunday individuals from local churches read the Bible 24 hours a day nonstop as part of Bible-reading marathon leading up to the National Day of Prayer.
“It’s something new we added this year,” said Barb Johnson, prayer coordinator for Love In the Name of Christ.
While hosted by Love INC, the Bible-reading marathon was sponsored by the International Bible Reading Association.
“They’ve been reading the Bible on our capital steps since 1990, but the idea is starting to spread out around the country, so we jumped on the bandwagon. We have more than 10 churches taking part in it and individuals from other churches that couldn’t take part,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the reason was to magnify the Lord’s word.
“There is power in reading God’s word out loud, and we want to honor God’s word,” she said.
The reading marathon culminated during the National Day of Prayer observance, held at noon Thursday at the Legislative Affairs Building on Main Street Loop in Kenai.
The event got underway after Mark Jonas, a member of the Messianic community of Jews who believe in Jesus as the savior, blew the shofar, a Hebrew instrument he said is used for summoning people to a meeting.
“I like to think that today it will be blown as a wake-up call,” Jonas said.
Pisa Faumui played an acoustic guitar while Michelle Faumui sang “I Love You, Lord,” after which Keith Randall welcomed those in attendance and led them in an opening prayer, which was followed by the posting of the colors and a gun salute by VFW and American Legion members.
Thirteen exuberant youngsters ranging in age from 2 to 8 years old rom Lighthouse Christian School led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
“They’re pretty pumped up about it,” said school administrator Ginnie Handley. “They say it every day, but we’ve been practicing extra loud and proud all this week.”
Following the pledge, Sharon Hart O’Hara sang the national anthem, after which Soldotna Mayor David Carey read a Kenai Peninsula Borough proclamation from Mayor John Williams, who could not attend the event.
Tara Schweitzer and Jonathon Brandow, students at Lighthouse Christian School, take part in saying the Pledge of Allegiance on Thursday.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
Carey said the theme for this year’s event was “America, Unite in Prayer” and was based on the verse from II Chronicles 7:14 which states, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Emily Riggens said a prayer for the nation, which was followed by prayers for government, media, education, church and families. These were referred to as the “Freedom Five” by those in attendance, and organizers said it is believed that by targeting these specific areas, America can experience the freedom that accompanies God’s power.
These five also are part of the National Day of Prayer Task Force’s mission to communicate the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the five centers of power.
The event closed with a prayer for the needy by Ingrid Edgerly, and the Faumuis sang the closing songs, “I Love You, Lord” and “God Bless America.”
Participant Chuck Thornton said the community was fortunate to take part in the prayer event.
“I think it’s a great way for people to come together and publicly acknowledge God as our source of hope and health in a time of national and international confusion,” he said.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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