MANATEE -- National Day of Prayer observations will take place today at various locations in Manatee County.
Designated by the U.S Congress in 1952, National Day of Prayer is celebrated by many faiths who come together to pray for the nation.
Members of the Manatee Religious Services and Manatee County Ministerial Association plan three events:
A Kiwanis Prayer breakfast at 7 a.m. at the Renaissance on 9th. Tickets had to be purchased in advance. None will be sold at the door.
The next event takes place in at 9 a.m. at the Palmetto Historical Park, 515 10th Ave. W. It is open to the public.
Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant will open the program and address the crowd. WEE World Pre-kindergarteners will perform a musical selection of "Lord I lift your name on high." Pastors will pray for different political and business sectors afterward.
At 11:45 a.m. at the Manatee County Courthouse, recording artist Sheila Raye Charles, daughter of late iconic soul singer, Ray Charles, will perform during a prayer service. Lawrence Livingston, pastor of Eternity Temple First Born Church in Palmetto, will be one of the featured clergy to pray.
Livingston used to observe the National Day of Prayer with four-day-long readings of the entire Bible.
"It was exciting. Around 50 churches participated," he said of the round-the-clock reading he and his wife conducted from 1994 through 2000.
Due to time constraints, Livingston no longer does the four-day reading, but he always participates in county observance of the prayer day.
"In some ways America is in the throes of international threat and we want our people to be protected by almighty God," said Livingston on the importance of praying for the nation.
Wendell Wilson, founder and director of Loving Hands Ministries, said he prays the events are not rained out. If it is raining when the courthouse observance is to begin the event will move to the First United Methodist Church on 11th Street West, one block from the courthouse.
"We hope it doesn't rain until after," he said.
Lexie Taylor, director of the Manatee Religious Services Inc., helped plan the prayer day events. She believes this is an opportunity for community leaders to unite in common purpose.
"The National Day of Prayer is a catalyst for an ongoing prayer movement in our nation," she said. "It doesn't end on the first Thursday of May. It's only the beginning."
For more information call 941-752-4850.
Janey Tate, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.