Day of Prayer to return next Thursday

Apr. 26—Can prayer truly light up the world? Pulaskians will join people around the country next Thursday to test that theory as local church leaders lead the National Day of Prayer.

A local group called Pastors for Transformation is organizing a gathering at the Pulaski County Judicial Center Plaza to be held at noon.

"We're just encouraging all people — believers, Christians, different churches — who believe in unified prayer coming together, that it carries weight and significance," said Mark Harrell, pastor at Victory Christian Fellowship and a member of Pastors for Transformation. "We want to invite all elected officials, anybody in public service, EMS, police, fire, city council members, magistrates, constables, anybody serving, to come so we can pray for them that day."

Harrell said the program will last around 45 minutes. "I tell people to bring a lawn chair if they want to, or an umbrella if the sun's out and it's hot. And if they have to come and go, it's fine, just come for any portion of it," Harrell said.

As of Friday, the forecast for next Thursday appears to be perfect for an outdoor event, but should the weather forecast turn, Harrell said plans will be made the morning of the event on how to proceed.

The National Day of Prayer is planned each year nationwide by an organization known as Focus on the Family. This is its 73rd year, although Pulaski has not been participating for more than a couple of decades.

"They're encouraging prayer vigils all over the country, and asking every state and county to host a time lifting up our nation," Harrell said.

The theme this year is "Lift Up the World, Light Up the World," based on scripture from 2 Samuel 22:29-31: "For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him."

Locally, different pastors will take turns leading the prayers for various groups, from elected officials to schools to families.

"It's not a political event," Harrell stressed. "It's a Christian event, but any denomination — every denomination — is welcome."

He added, "Heaven's not going to be denominationally-based, it's going to be Christian-based. So it helps celebrate the unity we have around Jesus being our Lord and Savior."

Carla Slavey can be reached at