Keeping prayer alive has always been the goal of Hall County Prayer.
The group that serves the county through prayer support is making sure that is again the case this year by hosting the National Day of Prayer events on May 2.
“More and more people in our community and all across the nation realize the importance of praying for our nation,” said Maxine Wagner, co-chairman of Hall County Prayer. “I think prayer has really become more of a first choice kind of thing rather than a last resort.”
This year’s National Day of Prayer theme is “Love One Another” — a theme Wagner is happy to see nowadays.
“I think this year, people just feel like things are so divisive right now in our country and there's so much turmoil,” Wagner said. “I believe they really feel this is a chance for us to draw together and really see how we have so much in common, more in common than we have differences.”
National Day of Prayer
For information on these May 2 events, call 770-540-3770 or visit www.hallcountycollective.com/hall-county-prayer
Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St. NE, Gaineville
When: 6:30 to 8:15 a.m.
How much: Limited $20 tickets at the door
Where: Downtown Gainesville square
When: Noon to 1 p.m.
How much: Free
The National Day of Prayer starts with a breakfast at 6:30 a.m. at the Gainesville Civic Center. Although tickets, which include a Longstreet Cafe-catered breakfast, are sold out, Wagner said there are usually some spots that open up last minute, so purchasing a $20 ticket at the door may be an option.
The speaker for this year’s breakfast is Emir Caner, president at Truett McConnell University.
“I'm sure he'll be talking about loving one another and loving our nation,” Wagner said. “We've left it up to him. But it's just a time of being thankful for our nation and focusing on prayer.”
Before he speaks, though, there will be a time of prayer across the room. Each of the 50 tables will have a topic that a prayer leader at the table will pray about out loud. Wagner said that’s one of her favorite parts of the event.
“It's just so neat to hear the prayers just going up all over,” Wagner said. “Just being lifted up all over the room.”
The event ends promptly at 8:15 a.m. so everyone attending can make it to work or wherever else they need to go that day.
And for those not able to make it to the event in the morning, Hall County Prayer hosts a lunchtime, hourlong prayer at noon on the downtown Gainesville square.
Around the square, there will be eight stations that guests can rotate between. Each station will have a different topic — government, military, media, business, education, church, family, life — and a prayer leader who will pray out loud with the group for a few minutes.
“If people have never come, they are just really so blessed and blown away by how many people gather,” Wagner said. “We've had storms and rain for the last two or three years, but we've had 150 people at least. And I think if we get a nice day, I can just envision 200 or 300 people there.”
The event on the square is a much more public event as people who didn’t plan on attending sometimes walk up and join in.
“Prayer is still alive,” Wagner said. “This is a time of instilling that feeling of hope in our nation — peace and hope. I really think there's a lot of it out there, but we just hear so much negative that I think this is a great time to be reminded that God is really at work in this nation.”