Raleigh, N.C. — The news cycle is always churning, and modern day events, both local and global, can be overwhelming.
The war in Ukraine.
The likely end of Roe vs. Wade.
Inflation and housing costs.
A global pandemic.
But in the middle of all of this — the National Day of Prayer.
On Thursday, a crowd gathered in downtown Raleigh — and prayed together for guidance in all the uncertainty.
There’s nothing quaint about prayer. No matter what your faith, it demands a humility, a summoning of a power greater than oneself.
Here, across from the State Legislative Building, people of power invoke that higher power.
“Let us pray,” says a group leader.
One man falls to his knees. One woman is brought to tears.
“The power of prayer guides many of us during decision-making times,” says senate leader Phil Berger.
Politicians speak, but this Day of Prayer observance is noticeably a-political. There’s no ‘them-versus-us’ kind of talk; rather, the talk is of togetherness. There is no mention of culture wars, but they pray for an American culture they see as increasingly divisive, abrasive, self-centered.
“We are called, we are tasked to pray for those in authority to what end? That we can live quiet and peaceful lives in all Godliness, all holiness,” says our state Chief Justice Paul Newby.
Together, the people close their eyes. They grasp hands. They feel the power.
Prayer cuts through the endless news cycle
For Wendy Colgan, here with her children, prayer cuts through the noise of the news cycle.
“I think sometimes think we get overwhelmed with the issues of the day, but I know the one who’s always in control, so like to seek God through His word, through prayer,” says Colgan.
For Margaret Beaman, prayer is the antidote to confusion.
“We’re in such a time of turmoil in this country — I think for individuals and the country — and we long for that peace,” says Beamna. “And it’s through the Lord.”
The Lord of the Bible calls on followers to pray without ceasing — and in everything give thanks.
“You cannot stop praying. You gotta keep praying, no matter what happens,” says Tharesa Lee, state coordinator for the National Day of Prayer.
No matter your faith, prayer is accepting that you’re not the master of all you survey.
“And all God’s people said amen!” exclaims the announcer.
So be it — which is the meaning of the word “amen.”
There’s nothing quaint about a bowed head and bent knee. In this corner of the public square, it’s the quintessence of freedom and strength.
The National Day of Prayer takes place every year, on the first Thursday in May.