Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | National Day of Prayer chooses Arkansas pastor as chief

Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has been named president of the National Day of Prayer, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the organization.

Floyd will “oversee the national operation of mobilizing individuals, churches, denominations and organizations to unified public prayer for America throughout the year,” according to the release.

Floyd said Tuesday that being chosen for the position was humbling and overwhelming.

“People are really very excited,” Floyd said, “[and] our church has really embraced it.”

Floyd said he will visit the National Day of Prayer home office in Colorado Springs, Colo., to spend time with its staff and evaluate the organization before beginning a movement that he said will encompass all churches, denominations, ministries, generations and ethnicities.

“This is a tremendous honor and a tremendous opportunity for all of us to come together to do this in every town, every county of our state … do something in every town in the United States,” Floyd said. “This could blow up in a huge manner.”

David Butts, a board chairman for the National Day of Prayer, praised Floyd’s work as an evangelist and spiritual leader.

“As we step into a new phase of carrying [out] this mission and legacy, I believe we couldn’t have found a man more passionate or dedicated to prayer and spiritual awakening than Ronnie Floyd,” Butts said in a news release. “Throughout his life, he has demonstrated he is a leader with a unique calling to lead others to unify together to pray for our nation and the need of spiritual awakening. America is blessed to have him as the new president of the National Day of Prayer.”

Floyd said the appointment comes at a “critical time” in the United States.

“I’ve never seen the polarization like it is,” Floyd said. “The division there is, the divide that there is, this has got to change and we’ve got to come together somehow. … God has got to come and help us at this critical time in our country.

“I really believe that the vast majority of Americans can agree on this: that we need to pray for our country.”

Floyd said he will continue to serve as senior pastor of Cross Church, a position he has held since 1986.

The proclamation for the National Day of Prayer was first signed by President Harry S. Truman in 1952, but it was not until May 1988 that President Ronald Reagan amended and signed the law designating the first Thursday in May as a nationally recognized day of prayer.

This year, according to the National Day of Prayer website, more than 2 million people attended more than 30,000 events observing the day in all 50 states, and it was recognized in some way in 80 countries.

The next National Day of Prayer will take place May 3, 2018.

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