PUNXSUTAWNEY — The 60th-annual observance of the National Day of Prayer will take place Thursday, with the local observance to be held with a community prayer breakfast at 8 a.m., with a prayer service to follow from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Punxsutawney Alliance Church Family Life Center, Route 436, Young Township.
This year’s theme is “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
Connie Neal, director of Disciplemaking Ministries at the Alliance Church, said this is not about a particular church or denomination: The prayer breakfast involves the whole community, and is sponsored by the Punxsutawney Area Ministerium.
There are people from all denominations and public interest groups — from government to education — taking part in the local event, Neal said. This is the third year for the prayer breakfast, which has been a success.
There are people from various occupations who will pray at the service for the seven centers of power: Government, church, military, family, education, media and business.
Neal said the National Day of Prayer task force has established these areas as the ones that carry the most influence in people’s lives.
The event will have a local person representing each of the seven areas of prayer, Neal said.
For example, Melanie McBee, who is both the mother of a U.S. Army soldier who recently returned from duty in Korea and the sister of a U.S. Army chaplain, will pray for the military at the service.
Neal said everyone is invited to the free breakfast, as well as the prayer service.
“Just come ready and willing to pray,” she said, adding that the Punxsutawney Christian School will hold a prayer service at noon Thursday in Barclay Square.
“The value of prayer, the knowledge and the commitment of prayer shows how important it is to pray for our nation,” Neal said. ‘Knowing that God is listening and he is willing and waiting to hear from us.”
Both President Barack Obama and Gov. Tom Corbett have proclaimed Thursday as the National Day of Prayer in the United States and Pennsylvania.
Michelle Harkins, prayer coordinator, said all one has to do is look in the newspaper to see that the world appears to be in crisis.
“The storms that occurred last week throughout the country are some of the strongest storms ever, with the highest winds, and we’ve also had floods and tornados,” she said.
Why are these events occurring? Harkins said she believes that God is trying to get people’s attention so they will pray to Him.
“We encourage everyone to come together and pray Thursday morning,” Neal added.