The National Day of Prayer, the first Thursday of May, brings unified public prayer for the country. According to the organization’s website, “This important day, set aside, ‘belongs’ to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds.”

It is in this same vein that Pastor Bruce Zimmerman and the Waxahachie Bible Church (WBC) hosted its first annual “Love Your Neighbor” Prayer Ride on Thursday, May 7. A parade of 97 cars left the church around 8 p.m., just as dusk was falling rapidly. The entourage departed from the parking lot on North Grand Avenue heading south, with emergency flashers on for safety and also in acknowledgment of the need for prayer.

One of the local members in one of the cars commented, “In Matthew 5:13 we are told that as believers, we are called to be ‘salt and light’, as we are the salt of the earth.” WBC’s Tonita Sweet continued, “This Bible verse from the New Testament was demonstrated beautifully as we started on our route and as the sun was setting. Once we turned onto Marvin Avenue, we encountered the most awesome display of flashing red car lights. It was as if God’s light (the sun) was being turned off, and our car lights were guiding us through the city as the darkness fell.”

Another WBC regular, Marglen Kinikin, expressed, “It was so awesome to see so many oncoming cars pull over in respect for our parade.”

While people from different churches joined WBC in the routed 40-minute drive through the city of Waxahachie, Zimmerman prayed on a broadcast via KBEC radio. Drivers and passengers were able to hear the scripted prayer (on 1390 AM) as the procession drove by 19 sites impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the community. The pastor prayed specifically for each site, including Mayor Hill’s home, the W.I.S.D. Administration Building, Boze-Mitchell-McKibbin Funeral Home, WFD station No. 1, City Hall, Ellis County Jail, Ellis Courthouse and Administration Building, the Post Office, the Gingerbread House, The Salvation Army, Texas Baptist Home for Children, the Waxahachie Police Department, the Legend Oaks Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, the YMCA, the local Chamber of Commerce, WFD station No. 3, and others. The group ended their drive as they circled around the local Baylor – Scott & White Hospital. During the Prayer Ride, other churches and businesses hard hit by these times were also prayed over.

As the radio program was winding down, soloist Jim Markle of WBC sang a beautiful song over the airwaves called “Grace for the Moment,” his own original composition.

When asked if the Prayer Ride had been a success, Zimmerman replied, “I think we had a good cross section of people from our city. In fact, one of our members told me that she had met a family who had traveled here from Cleburne. I feel that we honored God in a demonstrative way on this National Day of Prayer, and I appreciate all that were part of our special evening.”

Congress first called for a National Day of Prayer in 1775, and it became an annual event in 1952. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan designated it as the first Thursday in May.