BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It’s National Prayer Day, and celebrations will be taking place across Kern County throughout the day.
Most events are being held in person in person this year, a break from the virtual celebrations held last year and yet another sign of hope as COVID restrictions lessen.
National Day of Prayer was established in 1952 by President Harry Truman. Truman declared it for July 4, but in the ’80s, President Ronald Reagan changed the National Day of Prayer to the first Thursday in May.
Since its establishment, local communities have used it as a day to encourage unity and prayer among people of all religions.
“I think this year has been unprecedented of any year people have gone through more challenges, not just physical, but people’s mental health has been challenged,” said Steve Vinson, executive pastor for Canyon Hills Church. “A lot of people have been living in isolation and we are just saying ‘hey it’s a great time to come out, be together and call on God’s help to heal our land.'”
In Bakersfield, the church will be hosting National Day of Prayer at the Liberty Bell on Truxtun Avenue at noon. In Wasco, Mayor Alex Garcia is partnering with the Orange Heart Foundation and the city’s Recreation and Parks District for their bilingual event at 6 p.m. at the playground on 15th and D streets.
“In the city of Wasco, I recognized the power of the faith community and how important it is to our residents, and so now, in this time of strife in our community and across the nation, I think it’s important more than ever now that we unite as community members, leaders, residents, faith leaders and really lift up our community, our streets, our neighborhoods and our leaders,” said Wasco City Mayor Alex Garcia.
This event comes just days after tragedy — the city’s second homicide this year.
The Delano Chamber of Commerce will be honoring National Day of Prayer at the Delano National First Assembly of God at 6 p.m., with the hopes that this event will bring together people from all walks of life.
“The power of prayer is to unify people because this year has been kind of all over the board, and so we are grateful that we have this opportunity to pray for one another and feel compassion and hope and bring that to the city of Delano,” said Delano Chamber of Commerce Board Director Clarabell Gutierrez.
Following a year of uncertainty, isolation and social injustice, this will be the 69th year for the National Day of Prayer.