Editorial: National Day of Prayer a needed reminder to focus on love, not hate

The National Day of Prayer will be observed locally on Thursday during two events, one at AdventHealth Murray and the other at the Burr Performing Arts Park in downtown Dalton.

• AdventHealth Murray invites the public to join team members as they gather as a community in prayer at AdventHealth Murray's flagpole. The event begins at 11 a.m. It was created to bring together those in the community who believe in prayer as well as to further AdventHealth Murray's mission of "Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ." Masks are required to be worn while on the campus of AdventHealth Murray, and social distancing will be practiced.

• A prayer meeting and rally will be at noon at the Burr Performing Arts Park at 101 S. Hamilton St. This year's theme is "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." Organizers say "There will be special singing but the emphasis, as it is each year, is to pray for our city, county and country including our youth; local, state and national officials; and those who serve in our military. There will be a special time for prayer for those who lost loved ones due to COVID-19."

As it seems each year, prayer is much needed now, particularly following the heated presidential election of November 2020 and the strong emotions that have followed it, with partisan rancor at a seemingly all-time high.

We say seemingly, because in May 2017 we included these words in an editorial on that year's National Day of Prayer:

"Also promised are prayers for 'our enemies.' That is a welcome thought given the divisiveness that has been seen across the land during last year's presidential election campaign and continuing forward. Polls and just plain anecdotal evidence suggest the nation is for the most part divided into two distinct political camps, and the accompanying rhetoric has been unfortunate and frightening."

Sadly, it seems as if nothing has changed from then. Those words still ring unfortunately true today.

The theme for that year's National Day of Prayer was from Daniel 9:19: "For Your Great Name's Sake! Hear Us ... Forgive Us ... Heal Us!"

We editorialized: "Appropriate words. If you have castigated a political opponent, pray for forgiveness. If you can't seem to get past what you consider the other side's evilness, pray for healing.

"A recent letter to the Daily Citizen-News from one of the organizers of the local observance said the nation is in a 'spiritual war,' and noted, 'We will not fight this war with guns or hatred, but with seasoned prayer.'"

Wise words. Hatred is not the way. Love is.

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