Thousands from around east Tennessee and southwest Virginia gathered at noon Thursday to observe the 62nd National Day of Prayer, joining an estimated 2 million from around the country to "Pray for America."
The first recorded National Day of Prayer dates back to 1775 and the Continental Congress, but it became an officially-recognized event after President Harry S. Truman signed a joint resolution of Congress into law in 1952
President Ronald Reagan amended that law in 1988, declaring the first Thursday in May would forever be the National Day of Prayer.
Thursday afternoon's event in Bristol saw faithful from all generations joining together and offering thoughts and prayers for the country's first responders, service members, leaders, and even youth.
Fifth-grader Jordan Thompson,the youngest to take the microphone in Bristol's Cumberland Square Park, offered a prayer for the country's youngest generation, and even a bit of wisdom. "If you are not going to church, go to church because it is awesome," said Thompson. "And when you grow up, spread the Word."
Northstar Baptist Church's Dr. Bill Houck reinforced the day's theme. "We just honestly believe God is the only hope for our nation. While many people put their hope in elected officials, our hope is in God and we need to turn to Him,"said Houck.
In his National Day of Prayer proclamation, President Obama asked the nation to reflect on the recent tragedies in Newtown, Boston and West, Texas. He encouraged those around the country to join him in "asking for God's continued guidance, mercy and protection."