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You are here: Home Opinion Paula I. Bryant ‘One Voice United In Prayer’

‘One Voice United In Prayer’

Plans are underway for the Halifax County/South Boston observance of the National Day of Prayer scheduled for 6:45 a.m. on Thursday, May 1, at Halifax County High School in South Boston.

The theme for this year’s event is “One Voice United In Prayer.”

Historically, the U.S. Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a new nation back in 1775. 

Then in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation to set aside a day for “humiliation, fasting and praying.”

In 1952, a joint resolution passed by Congress and signed by President Harry Truman declared an annual “Day of Prayer” for our nation. 

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared and signed into law the first Thursday in May to be the nation’s “National Day of Prayer.” 

And every year, the President of the United States signs a proclamation encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. 

Yet, it is against the law for children to pray aloud in school, except for private little individual prayers. 

It’s really hard for us to understand how in this nation founded on prayer and obedience to God that it is unlawful for our children to pray in their schools.

Congress opens every day with a prayer, yet that same privilege is denied to our children. 

We don’t see anything wrong with offering a heartfelt prayer to begin the school day. In our local schools we have a “moment of silence” during which time students can pause, meditate or offer their own personal prayers. 

Our hat’s off to school officials for allowing that moment of silence each morning in county schools, yet keeping everything within the law. 

I remember back to the late 60s and early 70s when I was in elementary school at Cluster Springs, and Mrs. Lazarus Bates was my seventh grade teacher. Not a school day started without her students pledging allegiance to the American Flag and reciting a simple prayer that remains ingrained in my brain to this day.

I have never heard the recitation anywhere else but in her class, but I doubt if I will ever forget it.

“Two hands now let us show,

Two hands bring down to so.

Right hand, right things must do,

Left hand must help it too.

Together fold them tight

Not let them strike nor fight.

But lift them up in love

And up to Heaven above.”

A good friend in our class who was a Jehovah’s Witness would choose not to participate during this recitation and Pledge of Allegiance, but she never was ostracized by her peers. She didn’t celebrate birthdays or Christmas either, but she remained our friend. And certainly none of us were scarred for life for getting a bit of wholesomeness during our school day. 

It seems to us when the U.S. Supreme Court took God out of the public schools, that’s when a lot of our problems started in earnest. Now we’re not for making public schools into a pulpit, we just think there is a place for prayer in the school for those students who would like to pray. 

Right or wrong, in our opinion there should be a place for prayer in our schools because we certainly have no problem permitting everything else.