The United States of America was birthed in Prayer. The Continental Congress called for prayer and fasting in 1775 as they sought wisdom to create a brand new nation. The National Day of Prayer has been honored in Katy, Texas since it’s inception in 1952. Many people remember meeting in the city square of downtown Katy twenty years ago, and individual churches have faithfully honored the day holding prayer meetings through the years to lift our nation up in prayer.
But in 2010 several pastors decided to do something unprecedented. They endeavored to join forces in prayer. The Merrell Center was booked for 2011 and 50 churches from many denominations and backgrounds came together to seek Gods favor for the United States of America.
Since then it has continued to grow with 4000 people from all over the greater west Houston/Katy area join in worship and prayer for our great nation. It seems a movement of unity has captured the city. Churches are joining forces on many initiatives including the Perspectives class, The IF: Gatherings, Arise Women of Katy, pastors joining together as The Katy Church (thekatychurch.org) and more. Parishioners are crossing long held boundaries and attending bible studies and worship events at places other than their home church as they recognize that together we make the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).
In recent years worship for the National Day of Prayer at the Merrell Center has been led by worship leaders from the area, and the prayer segments have always been led by a variety of pastors. But things changed a bit in 2014 when Christian Radio Station KSBJ got involved. They began to bring national level artists like The Afters and All Sons and Daughters as well as production assistance. The award winning station recognized the unique nature of the event and wanted to support a unified prayer initiative. What has not changed is the heart of the event. Mike Hooper, Director of Prayer Initiatives at KSBJ says this; “Last year the worship and the united prayer led by the local area pastors was amazing! This year I am expecting a mighty outpouring of his Spirit on our community as churches and pastors come together from all over the city to seek God for our Nation. God’s people praying is the hope of our Nation.” He is right. The theme of this years event comes from Malachi 3:7 “…Return to me and I will return to you.”
2014 was also the year that the date of Fire on the Altar was moved to align with the date of the National Day of Prayer. Now the event at the Merrell center kicks off 50 hours of non-stop worship and prayer that will continue at the Epi Center,(2655 South Mason Road). Churches take turns, one after the other, to lead worship and prayer that is continuous covering 3 days! Anyone is welcome to stop in to Fire on the Altar, day or night, and spend some quiet time in prayer. Some come for 10 minutes and others stay for hours with Bible and journal in hand. In Katy, Texas, The National Day of Prayer Ignites Fire on the Altar is one event, at two locations, spanning 3 days.
The pastors of Katy want worship and prayer, not a concert and not teaching about prayer. They don’t want to TALK about prayer, they want to pray! Together. For our churches. Our families. And for the United States of America. Mark your calendar now for May 5-7, 2016 and together we will seek His face for the heart of this great nation.
Many opportunities to volunteer at the Merrell Center and Fire on the Altar can be found at www.KatyPrays.org.