Utah faith leaders celebrate National Day of Prayer

May 6, 2021, 5:21 PM
Utah faith leaders unite in prayer...
Photo: Carmelite nuns at prayer. (Courtesy of
(Courtesy of

SALT LAKE CITY — Faith leaders of different traditions in Utah may disagree on many aspects of religion, but they agree on the power of prayer. 

Utah faith leaders unite in prayer

The National Day of Prayer, which is observed on the first Thursday in May each year, was founded in 1952 by Congress and President Harry Truman.

Rev. Oscar Moses of Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Imam Shuaib of the Utah Islamic Center and Elder Evan Schmutz, a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson to talk the power of prayer.

Rev. Oscar Moses: “Every day should be a day of prayer”

Utah faith leaders uniformly point to the power of prayer. 

“Let’s start with you, Reverend Moses. It’s been a tumultuous year to be sure. And, as you look at this National Day of Prayer, lots of events of all denominations coming together . . . what’s in your heart today as you look at where we are aware and where we need to go next?” Boyd asked.

“Every day should be a day of prayer. This year has been a tremendous learning experience for many of us. One of the things that I tried to implement at Calvary, as a place of prayer is that we pray specifically for spiritual healing, for physical healing, as well as racial healing,” Rev. Moses said.

Imam Shuaib: “We pray for all” 

“Imam Shuaib, we know it is the middle of Ramadan for you. Tell us about how prayer, especially during this Ramadan season, has been important and different for our friends in the Muslim community,” Boyd said.

“Probably everyone knows someone in their immediate family circle or circle of friends who have been infected with COVID. So there’s a lot of prayers almost on a daily basis for people whose loved ones are sick. So we pray for all of the believers, non-believers, fellow human beings, whether they are in America or Argentina or India or Iraq, anywhere in the world, that may God grant them cure and speedy recovery, and also those who have passed away from this virus may God grant them paradise,” Imam Shuaib said.

“I’m sure as you look at your congregation, and again some of that heaviness from some of the loss, loss of lives and loved ones, and opportunities and so on. What’s the hope in your community, especially as you go through this beautiful, powerful period of Ramadan?” Boyd asked.

“Ramadan is a transformative month for the Muslim community, but I think as the larger community as a whole, the pandemic should transform us in the sense that it’s not just back to business as usual,”  Imam Shuaib said. “We should become more connected, more spiritual and realize how dependent we are on the Almighty for every inhale and exhale. How much we are dependent on each other and how we all have the same hopes and fears. We should become more united coming out of this pandemic as one community as one country.”

Elder Evan Schmutz: “We pray together”

“This National Day of Prayer began in 1952,” said Elder Schmutz. “Our nation and the world has changed much since that time. Prayer is needed more, and fewer prayers are being offered, and we have great appreciation for those of every faith, who pray to a god.”

“I don’t think there’s ever been a point in the nation’s history where prayers have been more needed, and I think you’re right. Sadly, it’s probably a time in our history where fewer prayers are being offered,” Boyd said. “What are we doing in faith communities, and in our communities at large, to promote this idea that we can humbly come together, that we can petition a god in heaven, a higher power depending on the faith tradition, how do we go about?”

“I think we can invite people to pray at home or pray with those that are close to them, that they love, whether they’re family members or other close loved ones. And then attend church,” said Elder Schmutz. “I think many churches are still virtual, but as we gather together in church, we pray together and we uplift one another. So I think the home and the church are two wonderful places to start that. We invite everyone on a daily basis to individually bow their head and speak to God, to our Father in heaven.”

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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Utah faith leaders celebrate National Day of Prayer