Community observes National Day of Prayer


Holmes and Washington counties on Thursday joined other communities across the U.S. to commemorate National Day of Prayer. This year’s theme was “Exalt the Lord Who Has Established Us.”

Holmes County Ministerial Association (HCMA) presented the main observation in Bonifay, where around 75 participants gathered at the Holmes County Courthouse.

First United Methodist Church (FUMC) and Holmes County Sheriff’s Office partnered to serve a free hotdog lunch prior to the event, and prayers and addresses were given by several local spiritual leaders. Gary Medlock of First Baptist Church (FBC) Bonifay led the singing of the National Anthem, with HCMA Executive Director Randy Torrance giving words of welcome and HCMA Vice Chairman/Holmes Baptist Association representative Kent Lampp offering closing remarks.

Presenting special prayers were: David Lauen of FBC Bonifay – praying for the nation, leaders, and military;  FUMC Pastor and HCMA Chairman Ryan Martin – praying for first responders; Pastor Joe Johnson of Bonifay Church of God – praying for the business community; Holmes County School Superintendent Buddy Brown – praying for the school board, faculty and staff; Kristen Baker of the Holmes County Family Center Ministry – praying for parents and families and Pastor Ed Bell of North Side Assembly of God – praying for churches, ministries and local leaders.

Martin states the day is set aside for a common purpose that reaches far beyond the local community.

“For Christians, every day should be a day of prayer, but on this particular day, we pause to pray specifically for our nation, its people, its leaders, and its destiny,” he said. “Many churches join together because we all serve this community and want God’s blessing and guidance for our people.”

The Chipley Hellfighters Motorcycle Ministry got an early start Thursday, setting up in the Harrell Square parking lot in Chipley.

“One of the reasons this day is so important that it is a right given to us by a United States President, and no one can come against it,” said Ministry President Richard Burke. “The second thing is, the entire United States can come together, all of one accord, and spend the day talking to Jesus. That, above everything else, is a special day set aside. If you have needs, special needs, spend the day and say, ‘Lord, I am calling Your name.’ Call it for yourself; call it for a friend. This is a day when souls get saved and bodies get healed.”

In addition to praying for anyone who stopped by. The ministry held a special service early in the morning for local first responders and another in the afternoon to pray specifically for residents of Washington Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, as well as for patients and staff of Northwest Florida Community Hospital, located across the street from the prayer tent.

At noon, several local pastors gathered to lead another local observance at First Baptist Church (FBC) in Chipley.

Special prayers were presented by Caleb Duncan of the West Florida Baptist Association (WFBA) – praying for churches; Grace Assembly Pastor Dallas Pettis – praying for government leaders; Shiloh Baptist Church Pastor Tim Brigham – praying for the military and first responders; Blue Lake Baptist Church Pastor Rich Smelser – praying for families; Rev. Luther Farmer, recently retired from New Hope Missionary Baptist Church – praying for the education system and FBC Chipley Pastor Mike Orr – praying for a spiritual awakening.

Duncan, who serves as Associational Mission Strategist for WFBA, says the day represents a vital component of faith.

“Prayer is to the church as fuel is to a fire,” said Duncan, “We cannot expect to see God move and work in our nation without a people on their knees. God is looking for people who are utterly dependent on Him.”

National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. President Ronald Reagan amended the law in 1988 designating the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer.

Every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer Proclamation.


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