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Kaden and Ava Gardner, grandchildren of DeSoto County Supervisor Mark Gardner, bowed in prayer during the Thursday morning county observance of the National Day of Prayer at the steps of the County Courthouse in Hernando. 

DeSoto County Thursday took a moment to look to God for provision and for answers to the many complex questions of today on the day designated as National Day of Prayer.

County officials started early Thursday morning with a short moment of prayer and singing led by members of its Board of Supervisors.

Other activities Thursday included a noon hour gathering in front of the Olive Branch City Hall, hosted by First Baptist Church of Olive Branch and city officials.

They were among thousands of events held nationwide that culminated with a national observance in Washington, D.C.

This year’s theme was “Love One Another,” with a theme verse, “Love one another. Just as I have loved you…” found in John 13:34.

At the County Courthouse, Supervisors Board President Lee Caldwell provided opening and closing remarks. Following the singing of “Amazing Grace,” Supervisor Mark Gardner led a prayer for the county, country and community, especially the discord which many see from the local to national level.

“This nation is about as divided as I have ever seen it,” Gardner said, then praying, “We pray for our country and its political division, the racial division and we pray that You would close that gap. We pray that you would heal our land.”

Supervisor Jesse Medlin followed and prayed for the family and for the workplace, especially addressing violence in the workplace.

“Lord, we desperately need Godly figures to lead our homes,” Medlin prayed. “I pray that families would be held together. We ask that we be a family in the workplace and treat and love one another as family.”

Supervisor Michael Lee then prayed for education, our schools and college.

“Lord, we thank you for our teachers and our professors. We know they have a tough job,” Lee prayed. “We’re asking that you put a hedge of protection around our teachers. They’re there to teach and bring up the next generation of people who are going to take over this country and run this country. We ask that you give them wisdom, lead and guide them.”

Kaden and Ava Gardner, grandchildren of Mark Gardner, helped conclude the program with the singing of “Jesus Loves Me.”

The national Day of Prayer observance has been ongoing since 1952, when a bill initiated by Conrad Hilton of Hilton Hotels and Sen. Frank Carlson of Kansas was passed. Public Law 82-324 stated that the President was to set aside an appropriate day each year, other than Sunday, as a National Day of Prayer.

However, efforts to form a National Prayer Committee (NPC) did not take place until 1974 and it was not until 1979 that a committee was actually formed.

The first National Day of Prayer observance, organized by the NPC, took place at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. with featured speakers then-Vice President George Bush and Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie.

South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond wrote the bill and then introduced it to the Senate Judicial Committee in 1987. It became Senate Bill 1378, which would amend the public law and was a bill that would designate a specific day to observe the National Day of Prayer.

The bill passed Congress and was signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, naming the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer, where it has been ever since.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd was appointed as the President of the NDP Task Force in 2017, preceding Anne Graham Lotz as Chairman. Floyd is lead pastor of Cross Church, a multi-campus church based in Fayetteville, Ark.

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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