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Joe Messina: National Day of Prayer supports the SCV

Posted: April 12, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 12, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

An estimated 400 Santa Claritans will participate in the 2013 National Day of Prayer. This is the ninth year that an event has been hosted in our valley and I have served as its chairman.

Every year I look for a way to express what is in the hearts of those who back and support this event.

I look for new ways to get the story out. As is often the case, the event draws controversy with division along party lines.

Yet, the meaning and intent of the day has not changed since its inception.

The National Day of Prayer was officially instituted by President Harry Truman in 1952 and, by virtue of Public Law 100-307, each year the sitting president issues a proclamation the first week of May recognizing this day and the importance of prayer in shaping our country, as well as to its continued success.

We are simply following a long history of prayer in this country.

Some are "ecumenical," meaning all faiths are involved in the prayers. The prayers are generic and speak to no specific power or entity. Others are Judeo-Christian.

In my Google search I also found a few held in Islamic communities. All had the same goal.

They wanted to support our government, our communities and our people in a way they believe in without forcing their beliefs on others.

We have the right to serve our God anyway we want to. Not only is it our God-given right, in almost all cases, the government allows us to as well.

There is always a small group (that makes a lot of noise) that would like us not to do this.

They want us to change the name, open it up to others, allow prayers of all kinds, not invite elected officials, and so on.

America is a great country affording us a lot of freedoms. This is one of them. All are invited to this event.

Though primarily supported and attended by Christians, people of all faiths and beliefs (or non beliefs) come and enjoy the songs, speakers, and prayer. I promise I will not try to convert you. But I will ask you to pray for our elected officials, our first responders, our military, our youth and seniors, our city and school administrators, and just the general welfare of the city. If you pray, these are great things to pray for.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his D-Day prayer to the nation, asked all to pray:

"Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity...Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. They will need Thy blessings…… and we know by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph".

He asked for divine guidance and protection for our country, our soldiers, and our leaders. This is exactly what we will be asking for.

This year’s main speaker is Brad Dacus from the Pacific Justice Institute. PJI is a law firm that defends freedom for all children in our public schools ensuring their right to exercise their freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the rights of parents to have a say in their children’s education.

They represent all people, Jew, Christian, Muslim, atheist, all races, ethnicities, and genders. They have fought for the rights of all classes to have their freedoms respected in the education arena.

Brad will share with us how God has led him to do this and some of the great accomplishments they have had.

So whether you’re a person of prayer or not, this day is a day that has been set aside for many years to pray for and to lift up our community, officials, and others that help make this community a great place to live.

They need our support and deserve our prayers.

Joe Messina is chairman of the 2013 SCV Mayors Prayer Breakfast and host of the nationally syndicated radio show "The Real Side."

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