BROOKSVILLE — When Jordan Baker was 13, he expressed an interest in participating in the National Day of Prayer. It was 2009, and the first Thursday in May was fast approaching.
Annie Baker, Jordan's mother, did some research and discovered that no community event was planned in Hernando County. She also found that with many local pastors retiring, there was no joint effort among churches that shared her Christian faith.
"I had always heard of something being done on the courthouse steps," she said.
Annie and Jordan decided to take on the task of organizing an event and have been doing it every year since.
Now 17, Jordan Baker will pursue college studies in the fall at Pasco-Hernando Community College and then head to the University of South Florida. This will be his last year leading the National Day of Prayer event. He also will step down from his role as president of the Conservative Christian Teens of America, a group he formed to participate in the 2009 prayer event.
"Christians are called to pray," Baker said in an interview, expressing the importance of National Day of Prayer. "The best thing we can do is look toward God for guidance and request his assistance and his wisdom in how we lead our nation."
This year's prayer event will begin at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in front of the Hernando County Courthouse with music by the Conservative Christian Teens of America praise team.
At noon, the audience will be welcomed, and Bud Goodwin, administrator for Lakewood Retreat Christian Camp, will give an invocation. The colors will be presented by the Wesley Chapel Cadet Squadron, led by honor guard cadet Commander Kyle Curabba.
After those in attendance are invited to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem will be led by Stephanie Sager, music director at Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville.
Jordan Baker will recognize leaders and elected officials, and a proclamation will be read.
An excerpt from the speech that will be given by Baker expresses the value of prayer.
"I have often heard people say in times of despair that 'all we can do is pray,' but it is the greatest thing we can do," Baker plans to say.
Prayer led by area pastors will follow Baker's speech.
A prayer of repentance and for families will be led by Pastor Dave Steadman of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian. A prayer for youth, college-age people and youth pastors will be led by youth pastor Lief Thomason of First Baptist Church in Brooksville. Prayer for children and children's pastors will be led by Pastor Dave Dahmer of First Baptist Church of Dade City.
Prayer for local churches, pastors and for Christians in America will be led by Pastor John Hensel of Christian Life Assembly. Prayer for educators and homeschoolers will be led by Pastor Joe Santerelli of Hillside Baptist Church. Pastor Hal Hester of Hernando Vineyard Church will pray for local businesses. Pastor Marlin Mull of Wesleyan Church will pray for the economy of the nation.
Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis will pray for public safety and emergency officials. Prayer for military, active duty and veterans, will be said by Pastor Jack Martin of Praise Family Worship Center Assembly of God in Hudson, Debrah Howard of the Blue Star Mothers and Dee Mills of the Gold Star Mothers.
Prayer for county, city and state elected officials and judges will be led by pastors Jim and Pat Pickens of House of Faith in Hudson. Pastor Carl Brown of Community Bible Church will pray for the president and his cabinet, as well as federally elected legislators and judges. A prayer for the state of the nation will be said by Pastor Tom Marshall of Community Bible Church.
The event will conclude with Scripture and quotes from the nation's founding fathers, recited by the Conservative Christian Teens, and a musical presentation by the Cornerstone Baptist Youth Strings Ensemble.
Annie Baker said she will continue to help with future National Day of Prayer events.
"I do not want it to go by the wayside, so I'll be involved in it each year," she said. "My desire is to have a Brooksville National Day of Prayer committee each year, made up of leaders in the churches wanting to be involved, along with other participants."