Though its name is often misunderstood, a Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer has been recognized in the United States since as early as 1775, with it being officially recognized in a proclamation signed by former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Over the last few years, the day has been recognized in special prayer services in Cleveland, with the City of Cleveland’s Chaplain Lance Blackwell as the driving force behind local recognitions.
On Saturday, Feb. 12, around 30 or so people gathered at the Cleveland Civic Center for this year’s event. Much like Day of Prayer recognitions that are held every May, the Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer involves local leaders praying for different aspects of our everyday lives.
Cleveland Mayor Richard Boyett offered prayers for the men and women in law enforcement, firefighting, EMS, the medical profession and educators.
“I pray for our faith leaders, too, not just the ones who are here today but all of them. They do a fabulous job,” Boyett said.
Will Carter, on behalf of U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, presented a proclamation from Babin, who was unable to attend Saturday’s event in Cleveland. State Rep. Ernest Bailes also offered prayers.
In closing the event, Blackwell invited Mayor Boyett and Cleveland Councilmembers James Franklin and Carolyn McWaters to take part in a special prayer about loving your enemies.
Quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14, Blackwell said, “The Bible says, ‘If My people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’ God says to love your enemies. The most difficult thing that we can do is to love our enemies.”