Brownwood area residents are being invited to join others across the country in local observances of the 57th annual National Day of Prayer today. Given the circumstances many in the United States and in other places around the world find themselves, it seems like the proper thing to do.

While individual churches and residents may be planning to gather, little publicity has been forthcoming this year about community events related to any local observances. The Austin Avenue Church of Christ has announced a time of prayer from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., but any other events scheduled have not been widely promoted.

Even so, pastors, ministers, theologians and even historians agree that it is in times of decision, and in times of crisis, when people tend to turn to their faith for guidance and comfort. That could describe almost any period in humanity’s history, but it’s especially the case in the United States this year as Americans look toward national elections.

The threat of nuclear proliferation continues to worry peaceful society. The scramble for resources like water and energy are bringing the haves and have-nots to a point of confrontation. And while the world seems to ricochet from disaster to disaster and from crisis to crisis, the human condition is also in turmoil. Families are being torn apart by war, bitterness and depression. Promising futures are being ruined by addictions.

Some who gather to participate in the National Day of Prayer may be thinking, “Well, this can’t hurt, I guess we can try it.”

It’s much more than that. It can help, and it will. The Ministerial Followship in Brown County has been holding monthly prayer and praise services in local churches, and the concept is beginning to expand into other counties. Church members are taking the heretofore unusual step of sharing their buildings, breaking down barriers their different ways of worship can sometimes erect, to lift up the faith they all have in common.

Such simple, yet bold, acts of joining together as a community and expressing care and concern is the first step toward solving many of the problems facing local communities — and even the state, nation and world. And those who have faith in the power of prayer know how significant this act can be.

Brownwood Bulletin