President Joe Biden, as called on by Public Law 100-307 and like many presidents before him, issued a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer.
“I invite the citizens of our nation to give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I join all people of faith in prayers for spiritual guidance, mercy, and protection,” Biden said in his proclamation, on May 5, 2021.
City of Sparta and White County officials gathered beside area pastors at the White County Courthouse steps, at noon, on May 6, to pray for and with their constituents.
After county executive Denny Wayne Robinson welcomed the guests to the lawn of the courthouse, county commissioner Kyle Goff began introducing those who would lead the group in prayer.
Lenny Elligan, from Kynett United Methodist Church; Jon Rushing, from First Baptist Church; Christopher Wiles, from Central Church of Christ; and Doug Benningfield, from Hickory Valley Baptist Church, all took turns leading the crowd in prayer.
Centered around the year’s national theme of “Lord Pour Out Your Love, Life, and Liberty,” prayers were offered for national, state, and local church leaders, and officials and for police, first responders, emergency workers, doctors, nurses, and medical professionals, with gratitude and requests for protection for all they have had to endure over the past 12 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prayers for unity and peace across the region, state, and country were spoken along with prayers of gratitude and praise.
In addition to prayers, White County Boy Scouts Benjamin Brandes and Jacob Speck led the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag, and Beth Ann Swallows sang the national anthem. Additionally, Regina Coonrod Pullin led the group gathered at the White County Courthouse in “How Great Thou Art,” a song of praise and worship, before Goff encouraged the citizens to continue to pray daily for peace and healing for the nation and then dismissed the gathering of nearly 50 who had taken time during their day to stop and participate in the 2021 National Day of Prayer.