The National Day of Prayer will take place on Thursday, with millions going online to take part in events nationally and locally due to the coronavirus gathering restrictions.


This year the Sebastian County National Day of Prayer Program will be by video at www.facebook.com/NationalDayofPrayerSebastianCounty/.


The national event also will be broadcasted, streamed and posted in various ways including on a Facebook Live stream at www.facebook.com/natlprayer, and cross-posted on many of the National Day of Prayer ministry partner's websites and Facebook pages.


The National Day of Prayer is an annual national observance established in public law in 1952 and observed publicly on the First Thursday in May.


Regardless of the challenges the nation faces today due to the coronavirus and resulting economic shutdown, the celebration of this day will not be canceled nor postponed — but will look very different from years past.


Each year, people gather in over 60,000 local community events to pray together for America. While the number of people gathering may be different this year, the prayers offered "will be multiplied and amplified through new and creative approaches, combined with unprecedented access to digital platforms," states a news release at nationaldayofprayer.org.


"In homes, neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, nation and the world, observing recommended ‘social distancing’ measures, our NDP coordinators are planning to mobilize millions in unified, public prayer for America," the release noted. "Focusing on using these digital platforms, this year’s ‘virtual’ observances have the potential to become the largest prayer ‘gathering’ in U.S. history — with millions praying together, individually."


In addition to virtual events being held in communities across the nation, The National Day of Prayer National Observance Broadcast will take place 7-9 p.m. in the central time zone. It will be broadcast, streamed and posted in many ways, including GodTV, Daystar, NLC, and BrioTV, and on radio through Moody and Bott Radio Networks.


This year’s theme, "Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth," is based on Habakkuk 2:14, and shares the reminder of this promise: "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."


National Day of Prayer (NDP) Task Force President Kathy Branzell put it this way: "Unprecedented times call for unprecedented prayer! This years ‘virtual’ National Day of Prayer Observance may have more prayer — and more ‘pray-ers’ than ever before!"


Will Graham, evangelist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the grandson of Billy Graham, will co-host the national observance broadcast with Branzell.


The National Day of Prayer tradition predates the founding of the United States of America, evidenced by the Continental Congress’ proclamation in 1775 setting aside a day of prayer, the news release states. In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer and, in 1988, that law was amended, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May.