FARMINGTON — For 63 years, people from around the country have gathered on the first Thursday in May to pray together on the National Day of Prayer.
And this Thursday, about 40 Christians met at the Farmington Civic Center to take part in that tradition.
This year's theme was "One Voice, United in Prayer," which is based on Romans 15:6. The verse states, "So that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
"It's such an awesome thing to be able to gather with other believers," said Eric Lee, the pastor of Four Corners Community Church, to worshippers before giving the opening prayer.
He said the event reminded him of the biblical story of King Hezekiah, who got up early and gathered leaders together to pray.
"This is what is going to bring about change in our communities," he said.
President Harry Truman proclaimed A National Day of Prayer in 1952, and the law was changed in 1988 to mark the observance of the day on the first Thursday of May. Each year, groups throughout the county assemble to pray together.
Farmington community members on Thursday prayed for six areas — families, government, schools, the unborn, business and economy, and the body of Christ or churches.
"I've heard it said one time that if someone wanted to destroy a country, he'd have to destroy the church," said Ron Price, a local marriage counselor at Thursday's event. "And if he wanted to destroy the church, he'd have to destroy the family."
After Price finished his prayer, Farmington City Councilor Nate Duckett prayed for the government.
"Let us never forget, as we have tried so hard to forget, that you are the permanent part of our history," Duckett said, addressing his prayer to God.
Duckett prayed the country would move in a "direction of righteousness."
Tim Kienitz, Farmington High School's principal, led the prayer for schools.
"It was just last year that we were here praying about the victims of Sandy Hook," he said prior to the prayer.
He said as the group gathered Thursday, they remembered the victims of the shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell. Two students were injured in the January shooting.
"Now we know it's something that our state is not immune to," Kienitz said.
Kienitz prayed for guidance for school administrators and teachers, as well as for students.
He said he prays students "will not relinquish their constitutional right to prayer just because they step onto school grounds."
Following Kienitz's prayer, Debbie Joslin, the executive director of Grace Place Pregnancy Center, prayed for the unborn.
"Abortion and the unborn is a difficult and challenging topic," Joslin told the attendees.
She said 1.3 million abortions are performed each year in the United States, and, since abortion was legalized, more than 50 million abortions have been performed.
"Over 50 million of our fellow Americans are missing," she said. "And it just breaks our hearts and it breaks the heart of our father God."
She prayed abortion facilities, including one in Albuquerque, would close.
"We pray that it would become very difficult to get an abortion in the state of New Mexico," she said.
Preston Smith of Parker's Office Products prayed for the economy to continue growing and for businesses that are struggling.
Finally, David Flores, the pastor of The Journey Church, prayed for the churches in the area.
Before he offered his prayer, he cited Ephesians 4:11, talking about how each person has a gift for the edifying of saints "until we all come into the unity of the faith."