Patti Herrington speaks at the Mississippi National Day of Prayer event. Facebook screenshot.
At the Mississippi National Day of Prayer event on May 6, the Secretary of State cited the approaching End Times in calling for more Christians to run for public office in the state, while an event organizer called for Jews to become Christians.
The event, held at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, attracted a large number of state officials, including an address by Governor Tate Reeves.
According to Pray Mississippi, the event organizer, this is the 70th anniversary of Rev. Billy Graham’s call on the U.S. Capitol steps for a national day of prayer, which was then established by President Harry Truman, and designated as the first Thursday in May by President Ronald Reagan.
According to Pray Mississippi, the event is to pray for “the seven spheres of influence in our culture: Government, Church, Family, Business/Commerce, Education, Media/Arts & Entertainment, and Military.”
Pray Mississippi is “a state-wide movement of prayer and fasting unifying churches and hundreds of churches and tens of thousands of people strategically praying for every young person in the state of Mississippi.”
At the event, Secretary of State Michael Watson said “we need Christian men and women in office today more than ever before. And if you’re a believer, if you’re a member of the church, you understand the signs of the times right now,” adding “we see the end times.”
Patti Herrington, Pray Mississippi’s capitol coordinator, prayed for both the United States and for Israel, saying “we pray that Israel’s enemies are confused and scattered, oh God. We pray, oh God, that every force of darkness will be destroyed and rendered powerless, oh God. We decree and declare that the United States of America stands with the Apple of your eye, oh God, and Israel will never be shaken.”
She also prayed that God would stop world leaders from trying to divide the land of Israel.
However, she then called for the conversion of Jews, praying for “a spiritual, supernatural awakening over Israel… remove the veil over the eyes of your people, oh God, in Israel, that they would recognize the Messiah, oh God, that they would recognize Jesus, their king, that they would know him, they would see him, and you would reveal yourself to them. That you would give them dreams, you would give them visions.”
Rabbi Joseph Rosen of Beth Israel, the only synagogue in Jackson, urged the governor, legislature and other state officials “to foster a more inclusive interfaith environment, and to show respect to the diverse faith community of Mississippi.”
He said Herrington’s “sentiments on converting Jews to Christianity were inappropriate. Rather than fostering an inclusive interfaith environment, the ‘National Day of Prayer’ allowed the invocation of a theology that attacked and alienated Jews.”
Neither Herrington nor Pray Mississippi State Coordinator Debra Brown responded to requests for comment.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which unsuccessfully sued in 20108 to have the practice found unconstitutional, said many events have been divisive because of the exclusion of non-Christians, and the National Day of Prayer Task Force and evangelicals “not only hijacked the National Day of Prayer, they hijacked the Constitution.”
Gina Poirier, co-author of this year’s Prayer Guide, said “While National Day of Prayer is often thought of as a Christian holiday, it is not exclusive only to Christians. Many people of faith celebrate National Day of Prayer, including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. Anyone of any faith can participate!”
While evangelicals are the vast majority of participants, during the Trump administration there were also Jewish, Hindu and Muslim speakers at the national Rose Garden ceremonies.
President Joe Biden’s National Day of Prayer proclamation for this year mentioned the “many religious and belief systems” in America, and did not specifically mention God. “I invite the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I join all people of faith in prayers for spiritual guidance, mercy, and protection,” he wrote.