On Thursday, more than 40 people gathered in front of the McDowell County Courthouse for the National Day of Prayer observance. They prayed for their local community and the nation. (Photo by Mike Conley/McDowell News)

On Thursday, more than 40 people gathered in front of the McDowell County Courthouse to lift up their prayers for the churches, families, businesses, local officials, law enforcement and the military.

Held on the first Thursday of May, the National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance, designated by the U.S. Congress, when Americans are asked "to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” The event is usually held at county courthouses, public squares or churches. People all over the nation gather on this day to say prayers for their country, state or local community.

On Thursday, the Rev. Terry Roach of Clinchfield Baptist Church welcomed the small crowd gathered in front of the courthouse and offered the first prayer. “We ask God’s blessing on the different entities around us,” he prayed.

Kenny Hilliard of New Horizon Baptist Fellowship prayed for families. He asked for God’s blessings on families that are broken and “especially on those that are broken.”

Marion Mayor Steve Little offered a prayer too. He prayed for local businesses, both the new ones getting started and the existing ones that have been around a long time. “Help us to maintain our honesty, our integrity at all levels,” he said.

Chris Thomas, also a layperson, prayed for the media, both at the local and national levels. She prayed for the schools including the teachers, teaching assistants, principals and administrators.

Other prayers were said for the military and the law enforcement. Pastor Jim Brewer, director of missions for the Blue Ridge Baptist Association, closed the observance by leading everyone in the Lord’s Prayer.

“This is a testimony today of the men and women gathered to lift up the name of Jesus,” said Roach.