National Statuary Hall in the nation’s Capitol resounded with praise music and prayer on Thursday as Christians marked the National Day of Prayer for the country and its leaders in all branches of the federal government.
The theme of the 67th commemoration, which President Ronald Reagan signed into law to be celebrated on the first Thursday in May, was “unity” at a time of division and divisiveness in America.
“A divided church cannot call a divided nation to unity,” said Dr. Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church and president of the event.
“It’s time for the church in America to come together in unity,” Floyd said.
The evening centered on prayer for unity and for the nation to repent for its sins, including racism, abortion, violence, and sexual perversion.
The program focused on the church as one body that includes people off all races and Christian faiths. Speakers from the black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and Anglo churches prayed for unity during the program.
The Rev. Tony Suarez, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said the church was not about politics, citing recent controversies around NFL protests and Starbucks.
“We are the church of Jesus Christ,” Suarez said.
One of the most moving moments came when Floyd interviewed the Rev. Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri. The couple lost their 14-year-old daughter when a gunman stormed the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 25 others died in the November 5, 2017, attack.
People in the audience cried as the Rev. Pomeroy prayed for the protection of Americans in schools, churches, and public venues.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-CA), who was a Baptist minister before being elected to Congress, was the sole lawmaker to speak at the event.
Walker said that prayer “is the most powerful weapon” God has given His people.
The program also featured uplifting music by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers.
Floyd said that aside from the event in Washington, DC, thousands of services in churches across the country were held on Thursday.