By STEVEN HERBERT | City News Service
LOS ANGELES — While most events in Los Angeles and Orange counties marking Thursday’s National Day of Prayer will be virtual because of restrictions stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, Rolling Hills Covenant Church will conduct drive-thru prayer from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Prayer stations will be spread out across the front parking lot of the church in Rolling Hills Estates with pastors and the prayer team available to pray for participants while they stay in their cars.
Participants are asked to wear masks.
The National Day of Prayer’s 2020 theme is “Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth,” based on Habakkuk 2:14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
Virtual events in Los Angeles County include an observance by Glendora’s church leaders on Facebook from 11 a.m.-noon. The page’s URL is www.facebook.com/glendoranatldayofprayer.
The Agoura Hills-based ministry Joni and Friends which evangelizes people affected by disabilities and their families will conduct an observance on Facebook Live at 11 a.m. covering national topics with a disability focus.
Orange County observances will include pastors from San Clemente streaming an observance at www.facebook.com/PastorsfellowshipOC at 7 p.m.
Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa will stream its event on its website, the Boxcast app and its Facebook and YouTube pages at noon.
The Everyday Church in Tustin will stream its observance on its Facebook page at noon.
A national day of prayer dates back to 1775 when the Continental Congress issued a proclamation recommending a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer be observed on July 20, 1775.
President Harry S. Truman signed a bill in 1952 proclaiming a National Day of Prayer must be declared by each subsequent president at an appropriate date of his choice. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law in 1988 setting the National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday in May.
In 2010, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled the law establishing the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional because it was “an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function.”
The ruling was unanimously overturned by a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling that the plaintiff, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, did not have standing to sue because the National Day of Prayer had not caused it harm and that “a feeling of alienation cannot suffice as injury.”
President Donald Trump made reference to the coronavirus outbreak in his National Day of Prayer proclamation.
“During the past weeks and months, our heads have bowed at places outside of our typical houses of worship, whispering in silent solitude for God to renew our spirit and carry us through unforeseen and seemingly unbearable hardships,” Trump wrote in the proclamation.
“Even though we have been unable to gather together in fellowship with our church families, we are still connected through prayer and the calming reassurance that God will lead us through life’s many valleys. In the midst of these trying and unprecedented times, we are reminded that just as those before us turned to God in their darkest hours, so must we seek His wisdom, strength, and healing hand.”