The National Day of Prayer is typically a time when people are asked to turn to God in prayer and meditation, but many local churches have decided to take it a step further.
Nine Newton churces will honor the 62nd annual NDP by holding a breakfast event at the DMACC Conference Center from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 2.
“Prayer is essential to every part of our beliefs,” First Assembly of God lead pastor Don Hayes said. “It’s the key to opening Heaven, and it’s communication with God. It’s not only us talking, but him talking and us listening. But particularly that day, (it) is going to be about us remembering and praying to God about our country and especially about our community of Newton and Jasper County.”
He also said it was about praying for God’s direction, guidance, provision, protection and his favor upon us.
When asked how the multi-church event idea came about, he said a number of church pastors and members meet the first and third Tuesdays of the month to pray; the group also holds community prayer services once a month. Through those meetings, the group developed the idea for a breakfast in honor of the National Day of Prayer.
One member of the group, Regina Sarmento, said when she lived in California, the prayer breakfast was an event she enjoyed attending, and said she was excited to have the breakfast in Newton.
She also said United Presbyterian Pastor Don Freeman was one of the many early supporters of the idea.
In less than two months, the breakfast was organized with a number of local businesses and churches donating food and funds.
Hayes said this was the first time the churches came together to host this type of an event. Although he is relatively new to town, he said in the past, many members of the community celebrated the Day of Prayer by gathering at the flag pole at the town square to pray.
For Hayes, getting together with fellow Christians means a good time — and said having a chance to eat breakfast does not hurt either.
“(Gathering with fellow Christians) to have a special time for prayer and recognizing and seeing other people in the community is a positive thing for our community,” he said. “I think Newton has experienced a lot of difficulties over the last few years. I recognized that, without God, and thus without calling upon Him and His favor, our economics aren’t going to do right. (One must) obey Him and follow Him, then He’ll bless.”
The National Day of Prayer was established by Congress in 1952, and the law was amended in 1988 permanently marking the day as the first Thursday in May. This year’s theme is “Pray for America,” based on Matthew 12:21, which encourage people to entrust the care of their nation to God.
Current sponsoring churches include: First Assembly of God, Christian Reformed Church, Community Heights Alliance, Newton Foursquare Church, Haven Vineyard, Our Savior Lutheran Church, The River, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, United Presbyterian Church and the Newton Church of the Way.
Tickets are available for $5 at any of the sponsoring churches, Choices Book Store, Bridgehouse Coffee, or at the event.
Call (641) 831-3146 for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The event also has a Facebook page set up, https://www.facebook.com/newtonprays.