Perhaps labeling last year’s Porterville Prayer Breakfast as an “annual tradition” to take place for many years ahead, was just tempting fate for Commander Don Dowling and the rest of the prayer committee. Sponsored by the Veterans Memorial Building and American Legion Post 20, the purpose of a day of prayer is to pray for God’s strength, protection and purposes into the community and invite the public to attend. But like so many well laid plans disrupted by the Coronavirus, this year’s committee was faced with the decision to cancel, postpone, or find an alternative to raise the voice of prayer.

Dowling was convinced this wasn’t the year to retreat or delay, stating, “There has never been a greater need for people to unite their voices and call on a divine power for guidance, wisdom and safety then at this time.”

The committee discussed options and focused on a virtual platform. 

Social media outlets have the potential to reach a larger audience and a direct connection for networking with like-minded people. Videos will be posted of local community members presenting prayers at https://www.facebook.com/portervilleinprayer at 8 a.m. Thursday, May 7, the National Day of Prayer.

“We especially hope to reach those who may be suffering from physical illness, financial loss, and emotional strain,” says Dowling. “We encourage people to share them and add their Amens to the prayers.”

In keeping with tradition, the prayers are offered by members of the Porterville community. They come from a variety of professions, faith groups, ethnic origins, genders and ages, and although they’re non-clergy, they all share a deep faith in the divine power prayer can have in our lives.

The 2020 Porterville In Prayer participants are as follows: Brian Guerrero, who prays for children and youth; Erica Sargent, who prays for senior citizens; Bobby Dowling, who prays for businesses, agriculture, and ranches; Luis Perez, who prays for members of clergy and non-profit organizations; Dr. Satwant Dhillon, who prays for healthcare workers and local hospitals and facilities; Don Dowling, who prays for the first-responders, public safety officers, members of military forces and veterans; and Abdulia Alvarado, who prays for elected officials locally, state-wide, and nationally.

The Veteran’s Homecoming Queen and Court make a special appearance to offer music and a message for their peers.

Will Lloyd of Willmation Studios and long time member of the Porterville community has played a critical role in the preparation to go online. His collective years of working with film and video have allowed the committee to move fast to a virtual format. Lloyd used his green screen to add digital images and enhance the finished product.

This year’s theme is “Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth,” with the focus of encouraging the public to participate, tag and share links with their family and friends.

On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Ronald Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer. Each year since, cities across the U.S. have raised their voices together in thoughtful prayer.

The annual National Day of Prayer for Porterville will be online and available on Facebook, Instagram, and the Youtube channel.

Other links to Porterville in Prayer are — YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzZHkPotmHVmndPFo6Y_pIw; and Instagram: @portervilleinprayer

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