By Joel Hall
Local clergy members, elected officials and school leaders will come together next week to pray for the county, the state, the nation, and the world.
On May 6, the Clayton County Ministers' Conference will host its 12th annual observance of the National Day of Prayer.
The Annual Community Prayer Breakfast will take place at the National Archives at Atlanta, located at 5780 Jonesboro Road in Morrow, starting at 6:30 a.m.
State Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Ellenwood), chairman of the Clayton County Ministers' Conference, said members of the Forest Park Ministers Association and the Association of Christian Ministers of Clayton County will also participate in the breakfast. He said that for more than a decade, the breakfast has served as a means for the county to come together in prayer about various issues impacting the community.
"I think the National Day of Prayer is important, because it gives ministers around the country a chance to collectively, and simultaneously, pray for the country as a whole," Glanton said. "It's a concerted effort around the country to lift up the name of God and stress the importance of being a country of faith. This breakfast has served as an opportunity to bring leaders of the county together in a spiritual realm to pray for our community, our local leaders, [and] our school system."
According to Glanton, the theme for this year's breakfast will follow the national theme, "Prayer For Such a Time as This," inspired by Scripture. The keynote speaker this year will be Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley, he said.
Recently, Heatley announced that the school system faces millions of dollars in budget cuts, due to sagging revenues, as a result of the recent national recession. Glanton said members of the clergy will offer prayers for the teachers, students and local governments.
"The biggest issues are the budget cuts, as well as the impact the current economy is having on our county, as well as the state and the nation," Glanton said. "I think this particular scripture [Nahum 1:7] is more appropriate than anything I can think of at this time. We are at a time where we need to seek spiritual intervention."
Glanton said the prayer breakfast will include performances by gospel recording artist Liz Yancey and gospel group "ZAMAR." He added that partial proceeds from the event will go to "Kidz to Kamp," a collaborative program between the Clayton County Juvenile Court and the Clayton County Ministers' Conference, which shows juvenile offenders how to make changes in their lives.
"Every year, they sponsor a retreat in Toccoa Falls," Glanton said. "It's an opportunity for the kids to hear positive messages about turning their lives around."
Harry J. Riley, pastor of Lakewin Christian Center and president of the Association of Christian Ministers of Clayton County, said the breakfast promotes "oneness" in the county that will ultimately help it face its challenges.
"At the prayer breakfast, there is time to concentrate on what is happening in our county and surrounding counties, as well as the United States and the world," Riley said. "Last year, when we came to pray, there was a shaking in our county. I sense the county is turning around. Prayer is where we get our answers ... sooner or later, we are going to see the results of our prayers."
Tickets to the breakfast are $15 and may be purchased at the door the day of the event. For more information, call (678) 479-7730, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.