By: Hannah Ward, Writing and Reporting intern at the Niagara Foundation and Student at DePaul University
Today marks the 63rd National Day of Prayer. We come together as a nation to reflect on the problems in the world that we hope to change along with the parts of our lives we are thankful for. This day reflects our mission and beliefs at Niagara because it unites the many different religions in the U.S. in prayer. To recognize the National Day of Prayer at Niagara, everyone at the office discussed what we are praying for. Discussing our thoughts and hopes created interesting conversations, spread awareness of global concerns, and developed new ideas.
Edirin Davis, Communications Officer and Melissa Muth, a Public and Global Affairs intern, focused on international concerns. Edirin is praying for the 200 girls who were kidnapped from a high school in Nigeria. She is keeping the girls along with their families in her thoughts. Melissa is praying for Venezuela. Today, her prayers focus on making Venezuela a more peaceful, stable country.
Brendan Dowd, Director for the Center for Cultural Exchange and Interfaith Collaboration, and Hilmi Cinar, Vice President of Development and Strategy, are focusing their thoughts on the condition of humanity as a whole. Inspired by Fr. Didace, a Rwandan completing an internship at our office, and in honor of his last day at our office, Brendan is offering a prayer of thanksgiving for humanity’s capacity to change. He is praying for perpetrators in the world to reflect on their actions and come to realize their mistakes. He hopes that all of us will be open to the power and possibility of change and reconciliation. Hilmi, in a similar vein, is praying for people to gain self-awareness. He wonders why people hate each other and why people are motivated to kill each other. He is concerned that people abuse their national or religious identities to justify their actions, so he is praying that people are enlightened by God to not abuse religious and national values.
On a more personal note, Brandon Carter, our newest Writing and Reporting Intern, and Ahmet Ersavas, an intern, are praying for the health and well being of their families. Ahmet is also praying for his country, Turkey.
Eleanor Peck, our Communications Director, is praying for all of the victims of the recent tornadoes in the south. I am praying for an increased respect for life. Recognizing the beauty and significance of human, animal, and plant life is an idea that I hope will gain prominence in everyone’s daily life and actions.
There are various events going on around Chicago to encourage community prayer this evening.
Events can be found here: http://nationaldayofprayer.org/events/