Today is the National Day of Prayer. Americans all over the nation stopped and made special preparations to petition the Almighty for spiritual healing, wisdom, protection, and strength. According to the Republican Party of Texas, May 7, 2009, marks the 58th Annual National Day of Prayer. Once again Americans have a unique opportunity to unite in heart and mind as we stand against the forces that endanger the well-being of our country and all we hold dear. We are urged to please take time to join millions of individuals who will kneel before God’s throne to intercede for this great land and its citizens not only on May 7, but as a daily discipline throughout the year. A wonderful sample prayer is available for direct access to the Father: “Lord, God, we acknowledge You as our strength, our shield, and our hope. We trust in You alone. Hear our cries and have mercy on Your people! We ask for your divine intervention in the affairs and lives of all our leaders and especially the centers of power in America: our government, media, education, church, military, economy, and families.”
According to TimeandDate.com, through the efforts of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, more than 35,000 prayer gatherings will be conducted by about 40,000 volunteers across the United States. Several million people are expected to participate in this call to prayer. Some celebrities will join millions of Americans in praying for the nation. Other events in various communities across the United States may include: choirs and bands performing songs relating to prayer; community prayer breakfasts or luncheons; daytime prayer walks; and evening worship and prayer services or gatherings. National Day of Prayer is a time for people of all faiths to pray together in their own way. The National Day of Prayer is not a public holiday, and schools, post offices, stores and other businesses and organizations are open as usual. Public transport services run to their usual schedules and no extra congestion on highways is to be expected.
In 1775 the Continental Congress allocated a time for prayer in forming a new nation, according to TimeandDate.com. Over the years, there have been calls for a day of prayer, including from President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer. The National Prayer Committee was formed in the United States in 1972. It went on to create the National Day of Prayer Task Force, with the intended purpose of coordinating events for the National Day of Prayer. According to the Legal Information Institute, the President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.
According to the National Day of Prayer Task Force (NDPTF.org), As American troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, President Franklin Roosevelt called for our nation to unite in prayer. He also offered a prayer to prepare each citizen for the road ahead. "Let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be. And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee." The victory that followed on June 6, 1944-also known as D-Day-began the march to Berlin. Eighteen months later, WWII was over and one of the world's greatest evils had been defeated. The prayers of a nation had been a powerful force.Prayer has always been used in this country for guidance, protection and strength-even before we were a nation or a handful of colonies. The Pilgrims at Plymouth relied on prayer during their first and darkest winter. Our founding fathers also called for prayer during the Constitutional Congress. In their eyes, our recently created nation and freedoms were a direct gift from God. And being a gift from God, there was only one way to insure protection-through prayer. President Abraham Lincoln knew this well. It was his belief that, "it is the duty of nations as well as men, to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God." When it came to the fate of the nation, he practiced what he preached. Before the battle of Gettysburg, he turned to God in prayer. "I went to my room one day and I locked the door and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed to him mightily for victory at Gettysburg." Won by the Union, Gettysburg was one of the turning points in the war that ended slavery and kept the states united.
Today the need for prayer is as great as ever per the NDPTF. Our nation again faces battlefields, along with an epidemic of broken homes, violence, sexual immorality and social strife. As the heroes of our nation did in the past, we must again bow our heads in prayer. We must ask the Lord to bless our leaders with wisdom and protection, and that we will have the fortitude to overcome the challenges at hand. If Roosevelt, the Pilgrims and Lincoln never underestimated the power of prayer, neither should we.It is our goal that you, your family and friends would participate in the National Day of Prayer. We pray that the event impacts your life, and that praying for our nation moves from a one-day event to a lifetime endeavor. Pray with conviction that God would continue to shed His grace on thee.
The White House issued a proclamation to observe the National Day of Prayer, although there was no official observance as in previous years with former presidential administrations. The document declared after speaking to the efforts by Americans throughout our history. "It is in that spirit of unity and reflection that we once again designate the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer. Let us remember those who came before us, and let us each give thanks for the courage and compassion shown by so many in this country and around the world. On this day of unity and prayer, let us also honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. We celebrate their commitment to uphold our highest ideals, and we recognize that it is because of them that we continue to live in a Nation where people of all faiths can worship or not worship according to the dictates of their conscience. Let us also use this day to come together in a moment of peace and goodwill. Our world grows smaller by the day, and our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife; and to lift up those who have fallen on hard times. As we observe this day of prayer, we remember the one law that binds all great religions together: the Golden Rule, and its call to love one another; to understand one another; and to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth."
The spiritual health of America is only as strong as its people continue to pray to an Almighty God for His blessings. Althougth the country is less religious now than at its founding, Americans overwhelmingly have a strong desire to be spiritual. Most Americans still consider themselves Christians, and that we are a Christian nation founded on Biblical principles. That is still true no matter how much politicians would deny or disregard those facts. One has only to read the documents of the Founding Fathers and our early history from Jamestown and Plymouth Rock up through the 18th and 19th centuries to see how much America was dependent on God for its founding and survival as a nation. Alexis De Tocqueville wrote in the early 1800's that America was great because America was good. And that goodness was based upon Judeo-Christian ethics that permeated every aspect of our society. When that concept is abandoned, our country is doomed for failure.
Pray for forgiveness. Pray for healing. Pray for wisdom. Pray that your relationship with God is real and personal. Let the attitude of the National Day of Prayer continue daily with you.
Until next time. Let me know what you think.