People from multiple faiths gathered together throughout Grayson County Thursday in honor of the National Day of Prayer. Churches, civic organizations and Grayson County itself held events across the community encouraging individuals of different faiths to come together in prayer.

“God is the creator,” Grayson County Commissioner Phyllis James said Thursday morning at the county courthouse. “The fact that we have the power through Jesus Christ to speak to him is the most powerful thing in the world.”

The National Day of Prayer traces its origins back to the continental congress when it called for prayers for wisdom while founding the country in 1775. This was followed by President Abraham Lincoln calling for a day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer” in the 1860s.

The day was formalized in 1952 through a joint resolution of Congress, which was then signed by President Harry Truman. This was later amended by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to set the date as the first Thursday of May.

Since being elected to the Commissioners Court, James has taken over organizing an annual prayer breakfast at the Grayson County Courthouse. Dozens of community members and county staff lined the benches of one of the courtrooms, much like a church congregation on Sunday morning.

The theme for this year’s event was “Love One Another” and encouraged individuals to love their neighbors as God loved them in reference to John 13:34.

“I think one of the greatest commandments in the Bible says ‘Love the lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind’ and what is the second greatest commandment — that we love our neighbor as ourself,” she said. “So, we are commanded to love one another.”

This year, the Denison Ministerial Alliance held its National Day of Prayer inside the Parkside Baptist Church rather than at Waterloo Park where it has been held in most past years. Parkside Baptist Church Interim Pastor Jerry Coffman said he was pleased his church was asked to host the event due to the weather.

“It means all believers and Christians in churches become aware the only power we have is with God,” Coffman said of the day. “We need to appeal to him for whatever need we have for ourselves and our community.”

Sandra Poeck and Kenneth Poeck from Pottsboro said the event was important for the nation.

“It is important for churches to participate and for people in the community,” Sandra Poeck said. “It is standing up for who created us. This nation was established by godly principals. It says in the word we are to pray for the nation, for our leaders and for our city officials.”

Kenneth Poeck agreed with his wife, adding he believes the day should mean a lot to the whole community.

“They can join in with all the rest of the nation that comes together at a place like this that we can unite in prayer,” Kenneth Poeck said. “The more prayer and the more united we are, the stronger the prayer can be to make the nation stronger.”

Coordinator Thomas Redwine said it was important there were so many Christians from different churches coming together.

“We want to contribute to the unity of the community where we can,” Redwine said. “Not only Denison, but do our part in unifying the country to pursue what the forefathers envisioned with us being ‘one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’”

There were close to 100 people from 10 different area churches in attendance at the Denison event, with prayers by six local ministers as well as music provided by the Coffey Memorial Church of God in Christ Choir.