On May 5, Christians around that U.S. were set to come together for the 65th annual National Day of Prayer, gathering on Thursday at noon at designated locations, to pray together.
According to the event’s website, “It is an unprecedented opportunity to see the Lord’s healing and renewing power made manifest as we call on citizens to humbly come before His throne.”
For the first time, Bethel United Methodist Church has sponsored a gathering, hosted by the Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department.
“We are hoping to gather outside, if possible,” said Bethel United Methodist Church pastor the Rev. Susan Sliker early this week.
“However, if it rains, we will certainly come inside. We have some opening remarks that I will make. There will be some music being played as people gather.
“And, right at noon, as it will be all over the East Coast, in this time zone, we’ve asked the fire company to ring their siren once, and then a prayer will be read — one that was prewritten by Tony Evans. He’s a well-known national evangelist. He has written a prayer that all events will pray at noon.”
Following Sliker’s reading of Evans’ prayer, other people from the community have been asked to pray for different aspects of society — from education to veterans and everything in between.
“Just every aspect and area that we could think of, we will have somebody praying for them,” she said. “We will end with ‘God Bless America’ being sung, and then the benediction. Then we will be on our way.”
Sliker said that, although this is the first year the church is sponsoring a National Day of Prayer event, they plan to continue holding them in future years.
“This will be the first annual,” she said. “We needed to do it. We needed to be the catalyst of an event welcoming the community together.”
Sliker said sponsoring the event was the work of members from within Bethel’s congregation.
“I was very excited when laypeople came to me with this idea. It’s not my initial idea. It came from the laypeople of our church, and I’m very grateful because I truly believe when laypeople have a vision and they drive it, take ownership of it… That’s really important because they get involved in ministry and take ownership of the event,” she said.
Sliker had previously served in a county-wide National Day of Prayer event in Pennsylvania, but she said the force behind the new event in Dagsboro was truly her congregants. “This was not my idea. It was certainly all of their idea. And all of them just working together — it’s just amazing and overwhelming to us how it’s been coming together.”
Sliker said that, by sponsoring the event, they hope to serve those in the Dagsboro area.
“Nobody else, as far as we know, in this general area, was having an event. Because it is a national event, we just felt we wanted to offer folks in this area the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than we,” she said, noting that South Bethany is also hosting a prayer.
Bethel currently averages around 70 congregation members for Sunday worship, but Sliker said that number can fluctuate.
“We have very active members — active in all kinds of community and church-wide events,” she said. “I’m very grateful for this wonderful congregation that realizes the church must be visible in the community and outside the four walls. We can’t stay inside the walls anymore. We must get out and love people the way Jesus taught us to. We will do that.”
Sliker invited all who wish to join in prayer to join Bethel United Methodist and come together.
“We are always intentionally building bridges with organizations and other churches in our area. We can no longer let things divide us. We need to be united. We’re very grateful. We share a property line with the fire department. So we work really close together, and we’re trying to find different ways that we can do that, and this is one,” she said.
“Certainly, come out and be a part of it, because this will be an annual event,” she urged. “This is the first one, but it will not be the last one.”
The Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department is located at 31818 Waples Street in Dagsboro.