By: Katie Sobiech
Our nation is undoubtedly facing some tough times. Because of this, prayer has become even more crucial. I recently spoke with Sam Pillow, Coordinator of the Summit County National Day of Prayer Task Force (NDP), to discuss what the NDP is and how those in the Akron area have been getting involved.
The NDP is a nationwide initiative and annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. Signed into law in 1952 by President Harry S. Truman, it exists to show the need for repentance and intercession for America and its leadership.
Prayers are centered on Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.
NDP in Summit County
Pillow, a self described “man of prayer”, has earned the title by working faithfully to challenge Summit County’s prayer life since he got started in 1991 as Bible Reading Marathon Captain. That, along with the many hours he spends interceding on behalf of the city, government, and nation and gathering others to do the same.
In 1993 he became Assistant Chair and eventually Coordinator. After coordinating for about 2 years he said he realized that “Our business is prayer”. This realization led him to start a 90 hour prayer vigil in conjunction with the Bible Reading Marathon.
The NDP initiatives in Summit County include many events scattered throughout the year, including a kickoff, or Open Meeting, which will be on February 10th of this year. This is somewhat of a business meeting with the purpose of encouraging others to come alongside and shoulder some of the workload.
The Pastors Prayer Breakfast follows this event. The purpose, Pillow says, is “to live out what we are saying and to be the church’s tool to raise the level of prayer in Summit County and the state.”
He believes it is important to inform pastors of the NDP’s vision, mission and upcoming events so that they can encourage their congregations’ involvement.
“Our real vision,” he said, “is to be put out of business by the churches – that they themselves would have such a high level and commitment to prayer that it will not be just a day – but a daily discipline for their congregations.”
The annual Bible Reading Marathon and Prayer Vigil will be held in May of this year, where volunteers will publicly read the Bible from cover to cover in downtown Akron. Prayer tents will also be open for anyone who wants prayer. Those who stop by can fill out cards with their prayer requests and be prayed for every Thursday of the month during prayer meetings held at the Haven of Rest Chapel in Akron.
“We want to let those people know that we are honoring their requests and lifting them before God on a regular basis,” Pillow said.
Other local events include a Community and Organizations Prayer Breakfast and the Nationwide Thursday Observance.
The Importance of Prayer
Pillow’s heart for prayer is evident. He shows a deep concern for the prayer life of America.
“The reflection of a low level of prayer across the nation is a reflection of the spiritual condition of the churches,” he said. “This reflects how low the prayer level is, once we assume that prayer is indeed engaging in spiritual warfare.”
He understands the subtlety of Satan and his tactics in distracting people from prayer.
“I call this a vital prayer ministry because it is eternally vital,” he said, “This is spiritual warfare. If we aren’t using prayer as the hand that wields the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, then we are losing the battle.”
Results of Prayer
Pillow has seen how the power of prayer has changed lives and how God has used this ministry to touch souls.
One lady who lost her daughter in a car accident a couple of years ago stopped for prayer in the tent and came back this past April, writing on a prayer slip “You got me through this past year”.
Also, Jonathan Greer’s ministry spawned out of the prayer tents, where God spoke to him saying “I am bigger than this tent”. Greer now ministers in Cascade Plaza year round nearly every day of the week.
“And that’s exactly what we want to happen,” Pillow said.
He also dreams of one day having an observance in every Summit County city and village.
Will You Join This Battle?
One of their greatest needs right now is for people to actively participate in the ministry.
Pillow says it best saying, “There is all of this work, there are all of these souls to be lifted up, but the workers are few. The fields are ripe for the harvest but the workers are few.”
The purpose of the Open Meeting on Tuesday, February 10th of this year is to discuss the ministries needs and have those who are interested commit to helping out in a particular area. It will be held at the Silver Lake Country Club in Silver Lake at 8:00 a.m. If you are interested make it a point to attend the meeting!
For more information please call: 330-996-0602