MOULTRIE -- Members of the Moultrie community are invited to take part in the National Day of Prayer Thursday afternoon. It will take place starting at 12:15 p.m. at the Lewis Hill Auditorium located on the Courthouse Square.

The theme of this year's National Day of Prayer is "Let Freedom Ring." Leaders from seven area churches will lead prayer of the "Freedom Five," which is prayer for government, media, education, church and family, as is instructed in 1 Timothy 2:1-2.

Moultrie's National Day of Prayer service will begin with a presentation of color by Col. Paul Nagy from the Colquitt County High School ROTC, followed by the singing of the National Anthem. John Eubanks, associate pastor at Heritage Church, will open the time of prayer.

Prayers for each of the "Freedom Five" points will be conducted by pastors from area churches. The Day of Prayer concludes with prayer from Larry E. Bird, pastor of First United Methodist Church and singing of "God Bless the USA."

Eubanks, who is also organizing Moultrie's Day of Prayer, said he hopes praying for God's will and purpose for the community and nation will give everyone in attendance the burden of His heart. This could bring people together for prayer meetings and potentially unite churches in prayer.

There will be a particular emphasis on prayer for the military, Eubanks said. Along with those in the Armed Forces, special prayer will also be given for law enforcement and fire servicemen, who also put their lives on the line each day.

The National Day of Prayer has a long history in the United States, according to the National Day of Prayer Task Force's Web site. The Continental Congress called for the first Day of Prayer in 1775. President Abraham Lincoln also asked for a day of prayer in 1863. The National Day of Prayer was established as an annual event in 1952, and President Ronald Reagan established the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday of May in 1988.

President George W. Bush issued a proclamation regarding the National Day of Prayer Friday, calling it an event at which Americans of all faiths can give thanks to God for His blessings and praying for the nation and each other. Georgia Gov. Sonny Purdue also issued a proclamation, stating Georgians have been blessed and join the country in praying for Bush and the troops abroad.

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