Douglas County will celebrate the annual National Day of Prayer next Thursday, May 7 at noon.
Ned Fowler of the Prayer Center of West Georgia said this is the 20th year for the event, and plans were for a big in-person event to commemorate the milestone.
Instead, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fowler said the event is going virtual this year.
Pastors, judges and others will still gather around the courthouse steps for prayer and music.
But Fowler said that due to recommendations from public health officials to limit crowds to 10 people, everyone else is instead encouraged to attend virtually on Facebook Live.
The event can be viewed online using this link — https://bit.ly/3d6GjAm — which takes you to the National Day of Prayer Facebook page.
“I think this will be a wonderful opportunity for people to shelter in place and be part of a community-wide event where we’re going to do something that’s so incredibly necessary for our day and time in this generation,” Fowler said.
Fowler said roughly 200 people usually show up to hear pastors and community leaders pray.
But he said this year, the hope is to reach at least 20,000 people online within a 25-mile radius of Douglasville using Facebook’s boost feature.
“I’m encouraging everybody to stay at home and watch this and pray with us from the safety of their home,” Fowler said.
The community celebration of the National Day of Prayer started a little more than 20 years ago, Fowler said, when 15,000 people from 40 local churches gathered over three nights at the courthouse for what he described as an “area-wide crusade” at the end of the millennium.
“Our country certainly needs prayer, our communities need prayer, but our families and these people that are sick and dying need prayer,” he said.
One of Fowler’s brothers, Dr. Ray Fowler, is the Emergency Medical Services director for the county.
Fowler said his brother talks about the “phenomenal job” the county’s first responders and front-line workers are doing during the pandemic.
“You’ve just got to sit back and you’ve just got to thank the Lord for these people who are putting themselves out there,” Fowler said. “Mot to mention the essential workers going and stacking shelves and checking people out. They’re sitting there breathing the air right in front of them. We’ve just got to be very thankful and prayerful. That’s who we want to cover in prayer is these people who are helping change our lives and keeping society going right now.”
Fowler is a financial consultant during the day. He said that “when they figure out how to keep people from dying, that’s when this thing will truly be over with.”
He said many people have gotten away from going to church in recent years. He said he believes the virtual services that churches have moved to during the crisis are here to stay and that they will help churches reach many who have left.
“I certainly pray that that is the case because there’s a lot of people that need the Lord,” he said.
The following pastors and community leaders will be praying during the event:
• Pastor Mark Evans, Believers Church: His topic will be “This is the Day the Lord has made.”
• Pastor Dave Divine, Chapelhill Church: His topic will be “Thou we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”
• Pastor Steve Brown, West Metro Church of God: His topic will be to pray for the those families affected by the virus and experienced loss of family.
• Judge Barbara Caldwell, magistrate judge for Douglas County: She will pray for the family, our youth and our education system.
• Judge Beau McClain, superior court judge: He will pray for our first responders and essential workers.
• Pastor Edwin Ford, Crossroads for Life Ministries: His topic is the “courage to reenter.”
• Joe Fowler, local attorney with Hartley, Rowe and Fowler: His topic is to pray for our government. Our National, state and local (county and city) governments.
• Pastor Vance Murphy, Atlanta Revival Center: His topic will be on the church moving forward and the healing of our nation and community and the economy.