Franklin observes National Day of Prayer

As part of the National Day of Prayer Thursday, May 4, dozens of people gathered at noon around Main Street’s gazebo to participate in pastor-led prayers for teachers, law enforcement, the military, and more. Photos by Vickie Carpenter

Deena C. Bouknight Contributing Writer

While downtown Franklin bustled with noonday activity on May 4, dozens stopped to allow local pastors to lead them in prayer in recognition of the National Day of Prayer. From the Main and Phillips Street intersection-located gazebo, Executive Director Mike Barres, Adult and Teen Challenge of the Smokies Men’s Center, led individuals gathered in an opening prayer and the song, “I Need You” before turning the microphone over to 10 different pastors. 

National Day of Prayer has been observed annually on the first Thursday in May since 1952. It was that year that evangelist Billy Graham led services for approximately 20,000 on the steps of the Capitol. Later that year, Congress proclaimed a joint resolution for a National Day of Prayer under President Harry S. Truman. Before an official National Day of Prayer was set aside, other presidents had specified days of prayer and fasting pertaining to national events or crises. 

In downtown Franklin, pastors prayed to God for revival, governments, educators, families, addicts, law enforcement officers, medical personnel, veterans, active-duty military, and much more. Toby Pope, of Grace Presbyterian Church, implored, “Renew, restore, refresh people in Christ,” adding, “Meet us where we’re weary and frustrated.” 

First Alliance’s Bradley Bennett referred to scripture,: “The Bible teaches, ‘woe to nations that call evil good and good evil.”

Burningtown Baptist’s Manny Hernandez offered that people should be praying that “Classrooms would be places of delighting in learning … sparks of light in this dark world.” He also prayed for wisdom for teachers and school staff.

Barres focused his delivery on “the local and national huge problem of addiction,” noting that “it’s one thing to talk about a problem, but another to reach out to those who are in the middle of a struggle.”

That evening, about 30 individuals – from ages 12 to 96 – assembled at the Friends of the Greenway (FROG) facility on Main Street to pray for children and families. The prayer time was hosted by FROG members Marsha and Jerry Denney. 

Present at the FROG facility, known as FROG Quarters, was 96-year-old World War II veteran, Paul Luke Shepard, who prayed that “our lives would be a lighthouse to this world.” He added, “Sometimes we have to walk through muddy water to get to a clear creek.” 

Reading Psalm 27 and leading the initial prayer was Dylan Castle. “We’ve seen people wake up and stand up, and I’m so thankful. And we still live in a country where we can come together to pray.”

People who attended the evening gathering prayed for protection on the Macon County community, for healing on the United States, and for leaders in the community and in the nation. Macon County commissioner Danny Antoine prayed, “We need your [God’s] wisdom to see through your [God’s] eyes. We have more freedom than other countries and we are grateful,” and “that Macon County would be solidly together in the effort to protect children.”