The National Day of Prayer took on a heavier weight this year as communities grappled with coronavirus concerns.

Many government officials, from Washington down to the local level, turned to spiritual leaders for moments of reflection on the trying matters at hand.

Designated by the United States Congress, the annual day of observance is held on the first Thursday of May. The president signs the proclamation each year, encouraging Americans to pray on this day. The practice of prayer and fasting date back to the founding of the country.

Locally, Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan observed a moment of silence Thursday for those who have died.

Following his bi-weekly social media updates, Sullivan invited area pastors to pray for the community.

Matt Bender, Pastor of The Church, opened the prayer portion of the program.

“We are the church, not the building,” he said.

Typically, the yearly observance is held in conjunction with a gathering over breakfast. Due to the coronavirus, the program was shared via Facebook Live. Participants practiced social distancing as well.

Marienetta Williams of Living Faith Christian Church followed with a powerful prayer for families and all government officials. 

“As they pray, we are praying,” she said.

Claudette Trench then prayed for prosperity of businesses and leadership for political representatives.

Darryl Smith, Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, prayed for a spirit of unity. He brought forth prayer for those in all walks of life during this time of crisis.

“Allow us to walk united, and not divided,” he said. “We pray for a bond of peace.”

Mayor Sullivan closed the moving program by thanking the pastors for joining him. He said Father Matt Dupre, Pastor of Ascension of Our Lord and St. Francis Catholic Churches, was unable to attend.

“I don’t know if you can feel it through social media, but truly the spirit of God is in this place,” Sullivan said in closing.