By Vince Lovato, Live Editor
CHELAN – When Sara Zelaya's son suffered a serious injury playing youth soccer, she was touched by the support her family received - mostly from strangers.
“I didn't expect how many people knew who we were,” Zelaya said while hosting Thursday's National Day of Preyer ceremonies at the Lake Chelan United Methodist Church. “My son is just one kid in a school of 300 kids but people asked us about him. They were concerned and that's why we're a community.”
More than 70 worshippers, church and civic leaders gathered for the annual event to pray for the government, the military, the community, the media, business, churches, families, education and youths.
Following Zelaya's lead, Nazarene Church Pastor Victor Hunt led the prayer for community.
“We're not different denominations. Tonight we are neighbors,” he said.
North Shore Bible Church Pastor Wes Schmunk prayed for our elected officials.
“Bring your spirit over them so your will will be done. We lift them up to you,” Schmunk said.
Military veteran and Little Stone Church Pastor Scott Morris prefaced his prayer for the military by bringing his son up to the podium.
“I brought him so we can remember that soldiers' have families that sacrifice, too,” he said.
Local Christian book author and spiritual leader Heidi Jo Lopez took a broad view of her prayer for the media.
“Texting and Facebook - those are areas Satan likes to play in. I pray for how we can use the media to be a conduit for your love and power,” Lopez prayed. “I pray our adults can embrace and use (social) media to reconnect with our youth.”
Scott Peterson prayed for churches and lamented that some people attend on Sundays and don't show up for anything else.
“If you stay in a garage that doesn't make you a Chevy,” he said.
Marycela Bernardo, of Centro Cristiano of Manson, gave an emotional prayer for families in Spanish.
“Forgive us for giving kids the best technology but not for giving them our best belief in faith,” she said.
Tom Robinson, a high school teacher and Little Stone Church member, prayed for schools but prefaced his prayer with a startling comment.
“If you want to see a modern day battlefield, walk the halls of your local high school, middle school, and increasingly, elementary school.” Robinson said.
He said the battles there are won and when he sees a child change, it is a blessing.
“We don't teach subjects. We teach children,” he said.
The VFW Color Guard presented the flags to start the event and music teams led the worshippers between prayers.
Steve Davis sang a rousing rendition of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” accompanied by Marile Kunkle on the piano.
Anne Palmiter organized the event.
According to Wikipedia: The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked "to turn to God in prayer and meditation.”
Each year since its inception, the president has signed a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. The modern law formalizing its annual observance was enacted in 1952, although the first observance took place in 1779 on orders of George Washington, then the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
The constitutionality of the law that established the National Day of Prayer is currently under challenge by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. In April 2011, a three-judge panel of a federal appellate court ruled that FFRF lacked standing, and, without addressing the law's constitutionality, unanimously overturned a previous court's ruling that it was unconstitutional. FFRF immediately appealed the decision.
The National Day of Prayer is celebrated by Americans of many religions, including Christians of many denominations, as well as Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews. On the National Day of Prayer, many Americans assemble in prayer in front of courthouses, as well as in houses of worship, such as churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. Luncheons, picnics, and music performances revolving around praying for the nation are also popular observances. Traditionally, the President of the United States issues an official National Day of Prayer proclamation each year as well.