HOWELL – In a room typically used for budget discussions and passing resolutions, on May 4 Howell’s town hall was instead filled with prayers, songs and a motion to cast Satan out of the building.
It was the 66th Annual National Day of Prayer, which occurs on the first Thursday of May each year. A unique bridge between government and religion, its mission is to mobilize prayer in America and encourage repentance and righteousness in our culture.
The only government business attended to was to pray for it, as well as for military, education, business, media, church and family.
The evening even mirrored a public hearing where pastors from local churches led a prayer topic by reading a scripture quote and saying a few words, then opened it up to the public to chime in with their own personal prayers.
Pastor Chris McCarrick from Cornerstone Calvary Chapel in Howell hosted the evening and introduced pastors from Howell Community Church, Ardena Baptist Church and Community Bible Fellowship to the speak throughout the night.
Some of those prayers urged God to protect and guide police and fire, the president, military members considering suicide, reporters, educators, single parents and struggling urban communities.
Several attendees brought their own bibles and sang along freely to music played by a sole guitarist during the night, which included “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.”
The township held a prayer event last year that about 80 people attended, according to Pastor Colin Thompson of Cornerstone Calvary Chapel in Howell. He said that this year he expected even more people would attend because other churches asked to be a part of it, and word had spread better though social media.
“We wanted to do something that focused on praying for our community,” said Pastor Colin. “Township Manager Jeff Mayfield ran it past some people and they opened the door for it.”
Mayfield was at the National Day of Prayer, along with Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell and some township staff. Mayor Theresa Berger was unable to attend due to medical reasons, but Pastor Chris McCarrick asked that a prayer be taken up for her recovery.
Mayfield gave the attendees a brief history of the National Day of Prayer, which began 65 years ago and took the efforts of two U.S. presidents.
“In 1952 Harry S. Truman signed into law that we as a nation would set aside an appropriate date each year, other than a Sunday, for a national day of prayer,” said Mayfield. He said that in May 1988, President Ronald Regan then signed it into law to make National Day of Prayer be the first Thursday of each May. “That was voted unanimously in both houses to sign it into law,” he said.
Mayfield did mention he received one piece of “hate mail” prior to the night’s prayer event, but other than that, the evening was meant to send positivity to the entities that keep our lives up and running every day. He ended his history lesson with a prayer of his own:
“Heavenly father I thank you for this night I thank you for the freedom to come here amongst our fellow citizens and to seek your guidance and to thank you for the blessings that you’ve bestowed upon us here in Howell and throughout our nation for all these years.”