Hundreds of people filled the Daviess County Courthouse lawn along Second Street on Thursday to observe the 70th National Day of Prayer.

It was an opposite scene from last year when COVID-19 forced the event to go virtual.

Prior to the 11:30 a.m. start, Susan Clark of Owensboro had already stationed her lawn chair under a shade tree and prepared to read Scripture from her Bible.

Clark said it was unfortunate that the in-person National Day of Prayer did not happen in 2020.

“I really missed it because it’s such a wonderful day to honor God for all that He’s done for our country and blessing us in a great and mighty way,” Clark said. “As a born-again Christian, it’s a special day to come out and to jointly worship with people from different churches, knowing that we’re one family under God and that we’re here for a united reason. It’s just a beautiful way for the body of Christ to celebrate.”

The Circle of Good News Bible reading kicked off Owensboro’s National Day of Prayer event with participants given a pre-assigned verse from the Bible to read around the courthouse for 20 minutes. The goal is for the entire Bible to be read during that time.

Tony Shouse, pastor of Eaton Memorial Baptist Church, was among those reading one of the verses.

Shouse, who has only been at Eaton for eight months, said this was his first time attending Owensboro’s National Day of Prayer.

“It’s important for all of us who are followers of Jesus to come together and pray together,” Shouse said. “…To me, what this is all about is loving each other. We’re not being angry; we’re not doing anything that’s controversial; we’re just coming out here to pray and unite our hearts together so we might ask God to bless us and bless those around us.”

And with it being outdoors, organizers had a plan to take the service to First Baptist Church if it rained.

For Jo Barron, the event’s emcee and longtime member of the local National Day of Prayer committee, the weather turned out to be ideal with cooler temperatures and a mix of sun and clouds.

“I kept reminding myself that God is in control,” said Barron about the likelihood of rain that had been forecast. “It’s in His hands and we prayed to Him for good weather. He just pushed away the threat so we could have it outdoors.”

During the event, dedicated prayers were said for families, church/repentance, healthcare workers, law enforcement, military, business, education, government leaders and the media.

Along with the prayers, Owensboro’s National Day of Prayer featured music that was provided by the Worship on the Water Praise Team.

For David Rodgers, who’s part of the praise team and the worship pastor at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, it’s the unification of different churches from across the community that makes the National Day of Prayer special to him, he said.

“When you look out across this crowd, it’s amazing to see this beautiful potpourri that came together to make this fragrance of praise and prayer,” Rodgers said. “No matter what roads these people have taken to get here, they’re crying out to God saying, ‘God we need you.’ ”

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

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