THE National Day of Prayer is neither a political rally nor a spiritual event.
With the theme “One Nation in Prayer,” last Monday’s gathering went beyond political separation and religious beliefs. It called on Filipinos to pause for a moment of prayer for guidance and protection, regardless of religion.
The National Day of Prayer’s intent is unity through reflective observance.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the event also aims to remember our fallen kababayans, who were struck tragedies from last year. He noted the devastations brought by the 7.2 magnitude Bohol earthquake, typhoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Visayas, and the Zamboanga siege.
Leading the ceremony at Malacañang Palace, President Benigno S. Aquino III highlighted the resiliency of Filipinos, which helped the nation rise up from tragedies and move forward.
Aquino said that peace, development and a good future for Filipinos were within reach, but were hampered by the series of unfortunate events of 2013.
The president also said that the Philippine government will continue to help the victims get back on their feet, especially those who are currently experiencing bad weather in Mindanao.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sr. also joined in on the festivities. He encouraged Filipinos to have their faith guide them towards a better and more secure future.
Like Aquino, he also prayed for unity and  for putting an “an end to divisiveness, pettiness and hate.”
“Let us embrace each other as brothers and sisters, united in moving our nation forward,” Binay said.
Representing the country’s Catholic majority, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle thanked the Lord for allowing the survivors from last year’s calamities to smile and face another day, despite the rough road ahead of them.
Citing a verse from the New Testament, Tagle said that the Filipino faithful entrust themselves completely to the “blessed hands of God.” He also asked the Lord to bless his kababayans, especially those who remain hungry and are facing their own personal tragedies.
Other major religious denominations also attended the National Day of Prayer. While they represented various sectors, they were able to set aside differences and join other leaders in solemnity, for the sake of the nation’s well-being.
A prayer reflect one’s earnest hopes and wishes. Its manifestation, however, will not depend solely on divine intervention. The answer will depend on how every Filipino will move past differences and iniquities, to help move the nation into the right direction.
The Philippines, at least for a day, became one nation in prayer, encouraged by the resilience of the Filipino spirit.
From these prayers and reflections, we come to realize our collective goals as a nation; and how each and everyone plays a crucial role in making them come true.

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