Lodi residents and clergy members will gather tonight in All-Veterans Plaza to offer prayers for leaders ranging from President George W. Bush to the Lodi City Council.
They'll ask God to provide wisdom for the nation's elected officials and they will also offer prayers for American troops serving in the Middle East.
It will be Christians leading the event, however, not members of other faiths who also pray to God.
Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhists, for example, are welcome to attend tonight's event, called "America, Unite in Prayer," but they have not been invited to be part of the program, said Ken Owen, founder and director of Christian Community Concerns, who organized the event.
"This is a Christian event," Owen said. "If anyone wants to join us, they're welcome."
But what about members of the Lodi Muslim Mosque and Lodi Sikh Temple, who also pray to God?
"They don't believe Jesus is the Lord, and we do," Owen said.
Leaders of those faiths said they were just happy a prayer service was scheduled for downtown Lodi, even if their religions didn't get a place on the night's program.
"I don't have any problem with it being a Christian event," said Nick Qayyum, a board member at the Lodi Muslim Mosque.
John Takhar, treasurer for the Deshmesh Darbar of Lodi, the Sikh organization in Lodi, supports the event as well.
"Anyone who has a prayer day I respect 100 percent," Takhar said.
However, Takhar and Qayyum said it might be nice if non-Christian faiths could participate with Christians in future years.
The Rev. Alan Kimber of First United Methodist Church was invited to be one of the speakers tonight, but he declined due to a scheduling conflict.
"I suspect that for some churches, there appears to be a combining of Christianity and nationalism too closely," Kimber said. "It gives the nation almost a religious significance."
Where: Lodi All-Veterans Plaza, located between City Hall and Carnegie Forum, 221 W. Pine St.
Speaker: Ken Owen, founder and director of Christian Community Concerns.
Pastors participating: Dale Edwards of Century Assembly, Tim Stevenson of Horizon Community Church in Galt, Scott Fischer of Church of God (Seventh day), Mike Abdollahzadeh of Lodi Avenue Baptist Church, Steve Newman of Lodi First Baptist Church, Chris Chavez of Heartland Community Church, Bill Cummins of Bear Creek Community Church, Mark Washburn of Calvary Bible Church, Frank Nolton of New Hope Community Church.
Others participating: Lodi Police Chaplain Bill Sherrill, retired Chaplain Wayne Kildall, singer Pam Chacon, music director Dan Malloy of Galt First Baptist Church, The Home Church praise team.
Source: Christian Community Concerns.
Just the same, Kimber welcomes the opportunity to offer prayers for American leaders and troops.
"I'm happy for folks to pray," Kimber said. "I believe in prayer and to pray for our country."
Lodi also has a Buddhist church, but the Rev. Harry Bridge said his congregation wouldn't fit in at an event based on prayer.
"We don't really pray for things to happen or pray to Buddha to change anything," Bridge said.
That philosophy to not pray for change doesn't apply to the Buddhist church worldwide, but it applies to the Jodo Shinshu sect, which is practiced at the Buddhist Church of Lodi, Bridge said.
Allowing the city-owned All-Veterans Plaza to be used for an admittedly Christian activity does not violate the separation of church and state law as long as it is not a city-sponsored event, according to Deputy City Attorney Janice Magdich.
"The plaza is open to all groups from all political and religious perspectives," Magdich said.
President Bush recently issued a proclamation commemorating National Day of Prayer. In his address, Bush referred to prayer several times but never specified that it is strictly a Christian event.
The National Day of Prayer Task Force, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., is a Christian organization, but there are non-Christian groups who also participate, Carol Mock, the task force's administrative assistant, said in a phone interview from Colorado.
In the Detroit area, for example, National Day of Prayer is gaining popularity among non-Christian faiths, according to the Detroit Free Press newspaper.