National Day of Prayer is a call for reflection, local officials say

Local leaders gathered at Gering City Hall for a proclamation on Thursday in observance of the National Day of Prayer. From left are Terrytown Mayor Chris Perales, Mitchell Mayor Dave Curtis, Gering Mayor Tony Kaufman, Scotts Bluff County Board Chair Ken Meyer and Scottsbluff Mayor Ray Gonzales.

GERING — Area mayors and the county board chairman gathered at Gering City Hall Thursday to sign a proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. This year’s theme is from John 3:34 — “Love one another just as I have loved you.”

“If you’re looking to us for all the answers, it’s not there,” said Scotts Bluff County Board Chairman Ken Meyer. “There’s a higher power that will help us and all we have to do is ask.”

The National Day of Prayer was signed into law by President Harry Truman on April 17, 1952.

In 1972, the National Prayer Committee was formed to coordinate events for the National Day of Prayer. People were encouraged to pray for the local and state governments, military and first responders, local, state and national leaders and the nation.

The law was amended in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan, designating the first Thursday of May as the National Day of Prayer.

“This is a day for all of us to step back and reflect,” said Gering Mayor Tony Kaufman. “We have a lot of hurting people and friends that are still going through challenges in all parts of the state.”

Kaufman said it’s important for us to carry on some of the core values and beliefs left to us by our nation’s founders.

Mitchell Mayor Dave Curtis emphasized the importance of prayer in his decision making.

“It’s needed for making tough decisions and seeking God to help us make the right decisions,” he said. “Prayer from the community also shows us support and that’s encouraging for us.”

Terrytown Mayor Chris Perales agreed, saying the nation is in dire need of prayer. With so many needs both in the nation and here in Nebraska, he said it’s always a good time to pray.

“We can’t do this by ourselves and if you think we can, you’re wrong,” Meyer said. “With the nation in turmoil, we need help. That’s why I ask for help on a daily basis. It’s important because we don’t have all the answers.”

Scottsbluff Mayor Ray Gonzales said the power of prayer is important in our community.

“We need to stop for a moment during all the daily chaos,” he said “We’ll always have challenges, but we’ll get through them.”

Closing in prayer was Joseph Schumacher Jr, who pastors United Methodist churches in Mitchell, Morrill, Henry and Lyman.

“I was raised in Gering and lived most of my adult life in Scottsbluff after I returned from the Navy,” he said. “Scotts Bluff County is so important to me so it’s an honor for me to be here.”

He also emphasized this year’s theme “Love One Another” as something we need in this country to help console many of the issues that can divide us.

“The present anger and division and broken relationships in our country and even here locally are calling us to pray for and take all necessary actions to remember God’s love for us,” he said.

Through the efforts of the National Day of Prayer Task Force each year, more than 35,000 prayer gatherings are conducted by 40,000 volunteers across the nation. Millions of people participate in this annual call to prayer.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at

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