A kickoff rally for 40 Days of Prayer, an annual campaign that encourages prayer on a number of topics, was held at El Dorado City Hall on Monday.
Members of the community gathered with local officials and others for the rally. El Dorado Mayor Paul Choate and the Rev. Chester Passmore of Cross Life Church led with the first prayers and other participants continued, praying for local schools, first responders, government officials and more.
El Dorado City Council Member Judy Ward introduced the idea of 40 Days in 2015 after learning about a similar campaign in Peoria, Illinois.
"This is a powerful thing for our community, and I appreciate all of your attendance and all of you who wrote the prayers and publish them, and all the work that was done," Ward said as the rally began on Monday.
The 40 Days campaign officially began on Sunday. A prayer addressing a different topic will be released each day through a number of sources, including local churches, social media, the El Dorado News-Times, radio outlets and word of mouth. Each prayer was written by a community volunteer.
Those who wish to participate are asked to set aside at least five minutes per day to pray for the day's topic.
Prayer topics for 2023 will include: thankful for the avenue of prayer; families and children; the elderly and those in nursing homes; those living in poverty; persecuted Christians; foster care/adoption; firefighters, police officers and paramedics; all leaders in government; mental health; those who are incarcerated and their families; teachers, administrators and other school employees: safety in schools; those who are abused and abusive; and the homeless in our community.
Today's topic is "peace in our community."
The event will conclude with the annual Prayer Walk, which is set for Nov. 8 at 6:30 p.m.
The Prayer Walk starts at the El Dorado Police Department and continues to downtown, stopping at locations such as the El Dorado School District Central Office, the El Dorado Fire Department, and ends at the Union County Courthouse.
Prayers will be published on social media and daily on the front page of the News-Times.
For more information, visit eldorado40.com or the 40 Days Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.
Tia Lyons contributed reporting