JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — About 100 people gathered in the Capitol Rotunda for a National Day of Prayer ceremony Thursday morning with Gov. Mike Parson, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft in attendance.
Parson recounted how he relied on his faith while making decisions for the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m telling you, there is no way you can be a leader at a time when [there is a] pandemic or crisis if you don’t have faith,” Parson said.
The National Day of Prayer was established by Congress, and former President Harry S. Truman signed into law in 1952 a mandate for every president to declare the day. It is celebrated annually on the first Thursday of May.
Kehoe spoke about how his mother was the main influencer of his faith. As a child, Kehoe’s mother would kneel with him and pray before bed each night. Kehoe also spoke about how meaningful it is to be told someone is praying for him.
“When somebody says, ‘we’re praying for you,’ that injection, that feeling that [it] gives a person like us — who get to serve you — that is something that I really don’t know how to describe,” Kehoe said. “Thank you for praying for us today and every day.”
Ashcroft reflected on the country’s history, saying the U.S. is the greatest country because it started with individuals who wanted to be able to worship freely.
“I thank you for being here today to be recommitted to understanding that our greatness is not founded on elected officials, it is not founded in wonderful buildings like this; it is found in the counsel and guidance, [and] blessing of God Almighty,” Ashcroft said.
Elise Eaker studies journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, Elise graduated from Fulton High School. She is a native of Fulton.