YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, (WKBN) – Thursday is National Day of Prayer.

An annual event was held in downtown Youngstown in front of the OH WOW! museum.

People gathered to pray for the community, leaders, and families.

Organizers say they are entering into a spiritual battle, taking a stand against violence, drug abuse, and human trafficking. They say the National Day of Prayer is a time of asking for help and believing that there’s hope.

“When something horrible happens everybody says, ‘We pray,’ but I just have an idea that if we actually were praying the whole time, maybe a lot of these things wouldn’t be happening,” said Pastor Rafael Cruz.

Organizers say the local observance has been held downtown for close to 30 years.

In Salem, the community gathered at the Salem Memorial Building for its own observance of the holiday.

This year’s theme was “Pray Fervently in Righteousness. and Avail Much.” The event included a proclamation for the City of Salem and scriptures and prayers by clergy and city leaders.

Organizers say the day serves as a call to churches and religious organizations to bind together in prayer for the needs of our nation.

“This is an event to pull all of us together as a community and say let’s trust God to help us in these dark days and the needs that surround the community that we find ourselves in,” said Daniel Hardy, chairman of the Salem Area National Day of Prayer.

This is the 17th year the Salem community has held the event.

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.

Patty Coller contributed to this report.