About 30 minutes after sunrise Thursday, the National Day of Prayer began publicly in Toledo with the 25th annual Northwest Ohio Prayer Breakfast.
Almost 850 people went to the Premier Banquet Complex, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd., for the sold-out 7 a.m. prayer meeting.
Krish Dhanam, author with former Microsoft president Rick Belluzzo of the recently published Hardheaded & Softhearted: Lessons from the Boardroom to the Break Room, gave a 40-minute keynote address that contained many jokes and lighthearted comments.
“I’m an apologist by training,” he said before his speech. “I do the defense of the faith through the anthropology of philosophies and all that. Being a motivational speaker by nature, I connect the dots of human history so that people realize I’m not just trying to be emotional, I logically try to present the faith.”
Mr. Dhanam is president of Mala Ministries, doing Christian work in India. He was the vice president of global operations for motivational figure Zig Ziglar’s organization, after starting there as a telemarketer.
As Mala grew, Mr. Dhanam left active work with the Ziglar group in 2010, but continues to be its global ambassador. Mr. Dhanam also serves on two boards in India of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Like 2013 breakfast speaker Sujo John, Mr. Dhanam was born in India and now lives in the Dallas area.
An award named in honor of prayer-breakfast founder Gus Yeager, the Gus Yeager Distinguished Community Service Award, was presented to Al Caperna, president of Affirm Global Development and chairman of CMC Group.
“Being recognized as part of the work that [Mr. Yeager] started, that I respect so much, is a great honor,” Mr. Caperna said.
Mr. Yeager had received a lifetime-achievement award during last year’s breakfast.
Also during the program, local dentist Bill Zouhary delivered a 12-minute prayer for the national day. Before he began the prayer, he spoke about the mottoes of the United States, “E pluribus unum,” or “Out of many, one”; Ohio, “With God, all things are possible”; and Toledo, “Laborare est orare” — “To labor is to pray.”
“What we are attempting to do today through this prayer breakfast is to bring together laborers and leaders … for the purpose of praying,” he said.