With this year's National Day of Prayer falling on the same day they had planned a regular monthly meeting, Newton Area Prayer Initiative organizers saw an opportunity to involve more people in the annual observance.

Newton Area Prayer Initiative will host a National Day of Prayer from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 3 at New Jerusalem Missions, 209 E. Broadway St.

"It's a continuation of what we've already been doing," said Clint McBroom, lead pastor at First Church of God in Newton and Newton Area Prayer Initiative organizer. "This year, we're going to do the whole day and the evening events at New Jerusalem."

New Jerusalem Missions will be open beginning at 8 a.m. for people to come and go whenever suits their schedule. At 7 p.m., everyone is invited to come together for city-wide worship and prayer.

"It's a time for our community to come together and pray for unity," McBroom said.

For 2018, the National Day of Prayer's theme verse is Ephesians 4:3 — "Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

To reflect that focus on unity, a worship team comprised of members from several different area churches will be playing songs in the evening. Pastors from different church denominations will lead participants in times of prayer and devotion.

Those coming to the National Day of Prayer activities are asked to enter in the north doorway of New Jerusalem Missions. Handicap access is available via a ramp entrance on the building's southwest corner.

The National Day of Prayer, instituted in 1952, is observed each year on the first Thursday of May.

"Churches across the country will participate in this," McBroom said.

For more information about the National Day of Prayer, visit http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org.