The Lawrence Association of Evangelicals has plans for a local celebration of the National Day of Prayer.
On Thursday throughout the country, people will be praying at breakfasts, concerts, town hall meetings, luncheons, churches and even parks.
It's all part of the National Day of Prayer, a long-time tradition that has the theme this year of ``America, Return to God.''
``It is a call for the entire nation to pray that day,'' said the Rev. Rod Hinkle, who is chairman of the local celebration for the Lawrence Association of Evangelicals.
Hinkle, pastor of Lawrence Heights Christian Church, said a non-denominational, inter-faith prayer gathering will be from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. Thursday on the sidewalk at the Douglas County Courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts.
``It will be small groups gathered around together to pray quietly,'' he said. No speaker is planned.
Hinkle said the history of the National Day of Prayer goes back to early days of U.S. history, when George Washington called for a day of prayer after the Revolutionary War to give thanks.
A 1952 law required the president to proclaim a day of his choosing each year.
However, in 1988, President Reagan signed a bill passed by Congress to set the first Thursday of each May as National Day of Prayer.
Hinkle said Lawrence Mayor Marty Kennedy is expected to sign a proclamation Tuesday announcing the local National Day of Prayer.
``I think obviously we need to turn to God at the times we are living, when there are shootings in public schools and so much crime and drugs and other problems that face our nation,'' Hinkle said. ``It's a call for people of all faiths to pray.''
Hinkle said he would like to see people pray for unity. ``The volume has been turned up on our disagreements a great deal lately,'' he said.
He encouraged people to pray in thanks for the blessings they have received and for the blessings on the city.
``Some people will want to thank God for the economic blessings he has given them and some will want to ask for them,'' Hinkle said. ``Some people will want to repent for attitudes and actions they have taken in the past.''
The day is a reminder to people to pray on a regular basis.
``People should pray in the fashion they're accustomed,'' he said. ``Many people pray by just speaking to God as though they were speaking to a friend in a conversational manner, while others will want to recite prayers that have been meaningful to them as a vehicle to get to God. Some will just want to be silent before him.''
-- Dave Toplikar's phone message number is 832-7151. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.