Perry Countians celebrated the National Day of Prayer on March 3 with a prayer ceremony in the amphitheater in Hazard.
The National Day of Prayer is a federally recognized day, typically associated with the Protestant religion, and celebrated for the first time in 1952. Since then the day has become much more open and is now considered a day of prayer for any and all religions. Several towns even host interfaith celebrations.
In Hazard, the Perry County Ministerial Fellowship hosted a day of prayer open to anyone. Jeff Centers, a local businessman and member of the Perry County Ministerial Fellowship, gave the welcome and closing prayer at the National Day of Prayer celebration in Hazard. Centers said that they had about 40 people come to the celebration.
Six pastors offered prayers, including prayers for national, state and local leaders, military and law enforcement, youth, and Israel. The event also included music from the Hazard Community and Technical College Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music, along with local musician Morgan Thacker.
“It is a day nationally recognized as a time to come together and pray, and they recognize it federally but they say that it is really a time of anyone of any faith to pray,” said Centers. “Of course our format here is that we gather from a Christian perspective.”
Despite the local event being Christian based, Centers said that is is open and public and anyone is welcome. “It is open completely to the public; it is held at a public place,” said Centers.
While the national event has been going on for 61 years, Centers said the local event has been going on for over a decade.
Centers said that they try to remain broad in their prayer topics so that anyone can join. They also host a group prayer and balloon release.
“We cover just a broad range of topics,” he noted. “We try not to be to overly specific.”
This year’s national theme was “One nation under God,” from the Pledge of Allegiance. This line was not added to the pledge until 1954, two years after the first national day of prayer.