Texoma unites for moment of prayer, reflection

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Denison residents gather at Parkside Baptist Church Thursday for the National Day of Prayer. The event encourages people of all faiths to gather for a moment prayer for the country.

Residents across Texoma gathered for a moment of reflection, peace and prayer Thursday as area churches and communities recognized the National Day of Prayer. The annual event encourages all followers of all faiths across the country to come together in prayer for the community and country as a whole.

This year's celebrations included multiple smaller gatherings of followers due to public health concerns and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Sherman also held a group prayer meeting Thursday at the Grayson County Courthouse.

"It is a 70 year tradition that we are continuing that is for all people of all faiths in America to lift up their thoughts in prayer and ask God to bless our nation and help us be the people we need to be," Parkside Baptist Church Pastor Jeff Humphrey said.

Days of prayer in America date back to the founding of the country with members of the Continental Congress recommending "a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer" in 1775. The modern version of the National Day of Prayer dates back to 1952 when President Harry Truman and a unified congress signed a law creating a national day of prayer.

It wasn't until 1988 that the annual date was solidified as the first Thursday of the month of May.

Denison residents gather at Parkside Baptist Church Thursday for the National Day of Prayer. The event encourages people of all faiths to gather for a moment prayer for the country.

Traditionally, the Denison Ministerial Alliance would host a large gathering at Waterloo Lake Park that would draw crowds from many of the area churches. However, organizers decided to split the event between three locations due to the ongoing pandemic.

At Parkside Baptist, a small crowd of about a dozen followers gathered for an hour of prayer for various groups and aspects of daily life. Followers led prayers on topic ranging from education and educators to the military and government.

While the prayers were focused on these topics, Humphrey said the ongoing pandemic likely is still on a lot of people's minds and in their prayers.

"COVID taught us humbleness in a lot of way and has helped us realize that while we have the ability to do a lot as humans, we can't ever stop trusting in the lord," he said. That includes us as people and the nation and the world."

Despite the lack of large gatherings, Humphrey said there were several other ways that followers could still participate virtually. Many churches live streamed events, and a national broadcast was expected to happen later in the evening.

"I don't think you get over something like this," he said. "You get used to the new normal and make the best of it."

Denison residents gather at Parkside Baptist Church Thursday for the National Day of Prayer. The event encourages people of all faiths to gather for a moment prayer for the country.
A standing room only crowd gathered at the Grayson County courthouse Thursday for the National Day of Prayer service.
Grayson County Judge Bill Magers leads a prayer during the National Day of Prayer service held at the courthouse Thursday.
Grayson County residents gathered at the courthouse in Sherman early Thursday to observe the National Day of Prayer