Photo Courtesy of Lt. Bill Davis/BSO: Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington welcomed guests May 4 to the Viking Drive Substation in Bossier City to kick off National Day of Prayer. Everyone who prayed received an “I Prayed” sticker.

Last Thursday, I attended an event that once again made me proud to be a part of such a great community when Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington hosted his National Day of Prayer ceremony at the Viking Drive Substation.

The ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by prayers from four local pastors, who prayed for our city, our parish, our state and our nation. The pastors who were part of the ceremony included: Justin Haigler (Simple Church), John Fream (Cypress Baptist Church), Donald Anderson (Greater New Zion Missionary Baptist Church) and Fr. John Daigle (St. Jude Catholic Church).     

The prayer part of the brief ceremony was closed out by another “Man of God” who is really making a difference in our city, state, region and nation: Louisiana 4th District Congressman Mike Johnson. Congressman Johnson (fresh out of a House committee meeting) prayed a beautiful, appropriate and very needed prayer for his district, the state of Louisiana, President Donald Trump, and the United States of America.

This is my second consecutive year to be humbled by attending Sheriff Whittington’s National Day of Prayer ceremony.

After attending the ceremony this year, I became curious as to just how the National Day of Prayer began. The roots of the observance of a national day of prayer go all the way back to the Continental Congress in 1775. Then, in early 1952 during the Korean War, the Reverend Billy Graham expressed the desire for a united national day of prayer. On April 17, 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill proclaiming a National Day of Prayer must be declared by each subsequent president at an appropriate date of his choice.

My research continued to find that in 1982, a conservative evangelical Christian organization called the “National Prayer Committee” was formed to coordinate and implement a fixed annual day of prayer for the purpose of organizing evangelical Christian prayer events with local, state, and federal government entities. And finally, I found that in 1988, the law was amended so that the National Day of Prayer would be held on the first Thursday of May.

So, let me take this opportunity to thank Sheriff Whittington for bringing together his National Day of Prayer ceremony. Sheriff Whittington most certainly realizes the renewed sense of hope and courage that the power of prayer can provide for us as citizens of this great nation, for the leaders of our local governments and municipalities and also for our law enforcement and military personnel.

The National Day of Prayer next year is on Thursday May 3, 2018. I know our Sheriff has already made plans to host the ceremony again. So, make your plans to be there.

Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com.