By Trina Trice
Below an American flag waving in the wind, Clayton County residents gathered to bow their heads and pray for the country.
First Baptist Church in Jonesboro and Shiloh Baptist Church sponsored a noon prayer meeting, something the former has done for the past several years, said the Rev. Dean Haun, in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer.
The first Thursday of May has been designated for the annual event.
"We know the Clayton County Minister's Conference sponsors the breakfast and another group sponsors one at night," Haun said. "We do this at noon, so we can cover the entire day in prayer."
At Thursday's prayer meeting, ministers encouraged the prayers for federal, state, and local leaders, as well as, for the entire nation.
"This day annually has been a day to pray for our nation, a direction for our nation, and future and for our own spiritual walk with God," Haun said.
Shiloh Baptist Church members Eva Maria Collier and Aretha Wright attended the prayer meeting.
"I came here because I love the Lord and I'm very concerned about our nation," Collier said. "I think this is wonderful. It should be done all over the world in times like these."
Wright brought her three-year-old son.
"We really need to lift our hearts up in prayer," Wright said. "I hope its something we can do monthly. It's nice for" her son "to see us praying for our nation and for our troops. I want him to get in the habit of praying."
Several local and state officials attended the meeting, including State Rep. Victor Hill, D-College Park who said, "As a police officer and an elected official, I need double prayers. I need all I can get."
Another National Day of Prayer meeting was Thursday night at the Old Courthouse in Jonesboro. Sponsors said it was a fitting time to pray for the soldiers fighting for the country and for the national leaders.
History of National Day of Prayer
1775 - The first Continental Congress called for a National Day of Prayer.
1863 - Abraham Lincoln called for such a day.
1952 - Congress established National Day of Prayer as an annual event by a joint resolution, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.
1988 - The law was amended and signed by President Ronald Reagan, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May.