Frank Pomeroy, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 people including his daughter, Annabelle, were massacred by a crazed gunman last November, is expected to join President Donald Trump at the White House along with other members of his family for the National Day of Prayer on Thursday.
The National Day of Prayer, which will focus on unity this year, is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, where people of all faiths are invited 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.
A MySanAntonio report said Pomeroy, his wife Sherri Pomeroy, shooting survivor David Colbath, his son Morgan Colbath, as well as Sherri's sister Sylvia Timmons, will join Trump for a prayer service at 11 a.m. at the White House.
"We did not expect a personal invitation to the White House from the president," the pastor's surprised wife told the publication. "When I received that email, I confirmed the legitimacy of the invitation and accepted, of course!"
The visitors from Sutherland Springs will be attending the National Day of Prayer's evening services at the Capitol's historic Statuary Hall.
The pastor and his wife will also be interviewed by Pastor Ronnie Floyd, president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Frank Pomeroy will also lead a short prayer and attend a private banquet the night before the event.
"We are very honored that we are invited to the White House and asked to pray for our nation in this historic place," Sherri Pomeroy told MySanAntonio. "While this invitation is bittersweet because of the events that brought us to this place, may we never turn down a forum to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever it takes us."
Last November gunman Devin Kelley, 26, attacked the small Sutherland Springs congregation with his Ruger AR-556 rifle shortly after their 11 a.m. service began.
Within minutes he killed 26 people and left 20 others with serious injuries. At least eight members of one family including a pregnant mother were killed. Nearly half of those killed were children. Police said Kelley unleashed about 450 rounds of ammunition on the congregation. Survivors said the shooter had expressed his intention to execute the entire congregation.
Pastor Pomeroy recently revealed that the church will hold a memorial on Saturday to honor victims and survivors of the massacre. They will also hold a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Sutherland Springs church that will be built next to the old church.
As the nation readies for collective prayer on Thursday, Floyd and his team have been encouraging people of faith to join him in saying the 2018 National Prayer.
"Lord, in this critical hour in our nation, we pray for unity in America. Only You can bring unity, harmony, and oneness in America. As Your Word calls us in Ephesians 4:3, 'Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace,' we ask You to empower us to make every effort to live in unity, to call for unity, and to forward unity in America continually," the prayer says in part.
"We pray for the churches in America to unify in Jesus Christ and to pray as one unified spiritual family for America. May Your Church pray for America passionately, perpetually, privately, and publicly. We pray for God's power to unify families, workplaces, communities, and cities in America. By Your Spirit, lead us to forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, and unity," it continues.