WASHINGTON (BP) – As America observed National Day of Prayer May 5, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee Chairman Rolland Slade exalted church and community leaders in San Diego at one of tens of thousands of local prayer events across the U.S.
“In my keynote address, I encouraged believers to ‘Exalt the Lord’ wherever they were, because He established them there,” Slade, Pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, Calif., told Baptist Press. “That includes not only praying for the seven pillars , (but also) for the believers within those sectors to step forward, letting their faith be known.”
San Diego Downtown Fellowship of Churches and Ministries  sponsored the event at First Presbyterian Church, with church leaders and government leaders praying for the nation.
It was one of tens of thousands of prayer meetings held at churches, businesses and government centers in advance of the National Day of Prayer broadcast at 8 p.m. Eastern from the Museum of the Bible in Washington.
National Day of Prayer President Kathy Branzell moderated the nearly two-hour event with targeted prayers, worship and exhortation. Branzell led viewers in praying the official 2022 national prayer  crafted for widespread use.
“Hopefully you’ve already prayed this prayer today,” Branzell said. “There’s power in agreeing prayer.”
Southern Baptists hosting local events included First Baptist Church of Barefoot Bay, Fla., Winter Garden First Baptist Church in Winter Garden, Fla., Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., First Baptist Church of Dyersburg, Tenn., and Forest Hills Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., among numerous others.
Many Southern Baptists participated in the national event.
“It is through prayer that we offer our praise,” Prestonwood Baptist Church Senior Pastor Jack Graham of Dallas said in advance of his prayer. “There’s no substitute to praying in the power of God’s Spirit in the name of the Lord Jesus to our great God.”
Ed Young, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church of Houston, Texas, prayed for revival.
“Revival takes place … in times of desperation,” Young said. “Everywhere you turn on the globe, I see and feel desperation, and that’s what happens when God begins to do a work in the lives of people, individuals, in churches, and therefore a moment of desperation. Then we pray that God begins, I pray, to bring many people to Jesus Christ, and to begin to heal our land and our world.”
AnGel Ministries Founder Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of the late evangelist Billy Graham, compared prayer to the vital act of breathing in sharing what prayer means to her.
“What breathing is to me physically, prayer is to me spiritually. Without prayer, I don’t have spiritual life,” she said. “The first perhaps and most important aspect of prayer is it’s based on a personal relationship, because God can answer any prayer He chooses. He can hear any prayer He chooses … But you’re only guaranteed access into His kingdom, you’re only guaranteed His full attention, you’re only guaranteed an answer from Him when you come to Him based on a personal relationship.”
The combined choirs of First Baptist Church of Atlanta and First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., offered praise, among others.
Music artists Chris Tomlin, Lacrae and Matthew West were among the many participants in the multidenominational Christian event featuring many speakers and pastors.
Branzell prayed for Christians in Ukraine and Russia.
“We pray Lord that You would be the defender for the people in Ukraine, Lord that as the Prince of Peace, that You would bring peace throughout that region, that you would heal their land Lord, that you would draw men and women to you.”
“Exalt the Lord who has established us,” was the event theme, based on Colossians 2:6-7.
The broadcast, which promoters said was accessible by as many as 300 million households, is viewable here , and was carried on DayStar Television, GovTV, CBN, CTN, NRB-TV, Revelation TV, Bott Radio, Faith Radio, Salem Radio, Mars Hill Network, American Family Radio and K-Love Radio.
National Day of Pray is a government-recognized observance  held annually on the first Thursday in May.