Interfaith council observes National Day of Prayer
EPHRAIM—For 66 years, the first Thursday in May has been designated as the National Day of Prayer.
On Thursday, May 4, the day was observed in Sanpete County for, as far as anyone knows, the first time.
And the devotional, sponsored by the new Sanpete Interfaith Council, marked possibly the first time people from such a range of faiths have gathered in the Sanpete County for a religious observance.
About 100 people filled nearly all the chairs that had been set up on the Snow College Plaza and scattered out to the surrounding lawns and retaining walls.
The event began with a moment of silence in which people in the audience could pray silently for their individual needs.
After that, representatives of various faiths prayed, first for family, then community, then the nation and then even for the world. Some prayed in their native languages then repeated the prayers in English.
Fernando Montano, a counselor in the Student Success Center at Snow College and a Catholic, praying in Spanish and English, asked God to “bless our families, our children, especially those children who are in trouble.
“We know if you guide us, as heads of those families, we can guide those sons and daughters you have given us to you,” he prayed.
Praying for the community, Cindy Shogren, pastor of the Mountain Valley Community Church, said, “Help each one of us to be people who are neighbors.”
She prayed for elected and appointed leaders in local governments, some of whom were in the audience. “We ask you to give them great wisdom and servants’ hearts,” she prayed.
Pastor Shogren prayed for business owners, asking God to help them operate with integrity and to help their businesses succeed. She singled out people working in agriculture and prayed for abundant crops and good prices.
When Rod Zedicher, pastor of Ephraim Church of the Bible, prayed for the nation, he asked for forgiveness and mercy because so many Americans have turned away from God.
“Heal our land,” he prayed. “Humble our rebellious pride. Turn us back to you.”
He also prayed for protection for people serving in the military and for their families.
Zinab Badawi, a Muslim student from Egypt attending Snow College, prayed for the world in Arabic as well as English. “Look with compassion on the whole human family,” she prayed. “…Break down the walls of division…that in time, all nations may jointly serve you in justice, peace and harmony.”
Two other international students were on the roster. Diego Valencia, a Catholic student from Ecuador, prayed in Spanish, while Naoaki Hiratsuka, a student from Japan who is LDS, prayed in Japanese and English.
Hiratsuka asked God to help everyone present “to have charity for each other and to love each other despite religious and cultural differences.”
Presiding throughout the devotional was Ken Barber, a counselor in the stake presidency of the Ephraim LDS Stake. He concluded the event by reminding the audience of words from Ronald Reagan:”If we ever forget we’re a nation under God, we’ll be a nation gone under.”