Approximately 300 people of various faiths gathered at Rose Tree Park in Media on Thursday, May 2 for the 73rd annual National Day of Prayer. This year’s theme was to “Lift The Word of God and Bring His Light Into the World.”

Traditionally the National Day of Prayer (NDP) brings together Americans of all religious faiths to pray for their country on the first Thursday in May. In 1952, President Harry Truman signed a joint resolution of Congress that established the observance. The NDP Task Force, a privately funded organization, encourages the nation to take part in this annual day of prayer.

Patti Bruno, co-director of the Delaware County Task Force knows that God had a hand in the making of the successful event.

From a large open space, to shade and breezy conditions on a hot and sunny day, to the food trucks on hand and the various religious organizations that had their own tables complete with prayer resources and information on local ministries.

A midday ceremony made it accessible for some to attend on their lunch hour. Pastor Editus Addy of Agape International Outreach Ministries in Collingdale called the assembly to worship with a prayer at 11:30 a.m..

“We lift up the Lord and light up the world,” said Pastor Addy.

As in previous years prayers were offered for a wide variety of needs including the family, the church, business professionals, education, active military and veterans, first responders, government leaders, and people working in arts, entertainment and media.

Joseph and Martha McIlvaine prayed for marriages, families and the unborn during Delaware County’s observance of the National Day of Prayer. (Photo by Dan McCarty)

Joseph and Martha McIlvaine, parishioners of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Media, offered an invocation for marriages, families, and the unborn.

“The grace of Jesus flowed forth at Cana at the request of the Blessed Mother,” said Joseph McIlvaine. “May your son, through the intercession of Mary, pour out upon us the gifts of the Holy Spirit as we join with all people of good will to promote and protect the unique beauty of marriage.”

“We ask you to bless the sacred union of man and woman and that they shall all be of a shining example of your love to all those around them.”

This year featured a 2024 National Prayer led by Ed Cameron, owner of Copy Products and God Answers Prayers in Upper Darby.

“As we abide in You and Your Word abides in us, we take up our shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and run boldly into the darkness to Lift Up the Word and Light Up the World,” recited the assembly.

In addition to spoken prayer, the celebration featured musical selections. Selections included “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America Medley” and “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.” Additional selections included “Awesome God,” “The Lord’s Prayer Hymnal,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Shout to the Lord,” “Thank You Jesus for the Blood,” “The Spirit of the Lord,” Christ be our Light,” “Holy Forever” and “The Blessing.”

People danced along with some of the music. Representing Hearts Healing Hearts LLC in New Castle, Delaware was Krystal Bratten whose aunt, Josie Battle, came as an intercessor representing Pray for PA. Battle said a prayer for churches, clergy and religious volunteers. Bratten brought along her son, Austin, making the day a first time family affair.

There were other first timers on hand as well. Among them was Gina Pastore of Philadelphia who came in place of her mother who attended this event for many years but could not make it this time.

“I’ve just accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior,” said Pastore. “I want to learn more about how to get closer to God and worship.”

Among the Delaware County Task Force’s new members is Dee Butera, a parishioner of St. Pius X, in Broomall. She helped by distributing flyers and found it to be very nice.

“Now is not the time to be lazy and grow weary in prayer,” said Raven Renneisen, a member of the task force along with her daughter, Juliette.

In order to continue this annual event, a new generation will have to step up in the future. Juliette Renneisen, 12, just might be a future representative as she is currently one of the youngest members in the task force’s history helping to livestream the worship for those unable to be there in person.

“I just like to help with God’s work,” she said. “It’s nice to share with other people.”

The 74th Annual National Day of Prayer is slated for May 1, 2025. It is not too early to volunteer or to sign up as a church representative by contacting Patti Bruno at (610) 416-8336 or visiting

Krystal Bratten of Hearts Healing Hearts danced to the musical selections. (Photo by Dan McCarty)