Today (May 3, 2018) is the National Day of Prayer. Our local (Tupelo) recognition will be from 12:20 -12:40 at City Hall. I hope you’ll join us. The theme this year is “Unity.”

The National Day of Prayer is an annual event, signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1952 as a time to seek divine assistance (“support”). In 1988, President Reagan designated the first Thursday in May as the official date for the National Day of Prayer.

This is a day when all Americans are to seek God, His guidance, and His intervention in turning our nation to His will and His ways. Today, a call to prayer will be proclaimed in the halls of government from our nation’s capital to the smallest village in the land.

We will celebrate prayer, but will we pray?

Lovely words will be spoken, and God’s name will be attached to the beginning and the end of prepared speeches. Whether or not those words will be prayer remains to be seen.

What is prayer?

The word translated as “prayer” in Scripture comes from two root words meaning “to draw near” and “to express desire.” Prayer happens when we draw near to God and speak with Him about our needs and desires. It’s a two-sided conversation with the Great I AM. The most important part of the conversation, of course, is God’s part.

If we are to effectively pray, we must draw near to God on His terms.

Jesus taught His disciples the Model Prayer, found in Luke 11 and Matthew 6. A close inspection of His format reveals an emphasis on God’s glory. Our desires become secondary to His. If we follow Jesus’ model, our praise will lead to surrender to His will.

What is National Day of Prayer?

This is a legally-designated and protected day of “prayer and meditation” throughout our nation. Christians can participate in public prayer without fear of retribution. You can learn more here:

nationaldayofprayer.org

The law states it is a day on which people may “turn to God in prayer and meditation.” The law does not indicate to which god we should turn. It is not Christian-directed in its wording, although it was probably originally designated with the presumption of prayer to our Christian God.

Why participate?

Our best chance for preservation of this freedom is to take advantage of it. Participate in a celebration, either on the local, state, or national level.

More important, however, are Jesus’ words about the value of joining together in prayer.

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them [a]by My Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:19-20

If we gather, agree, and pray on behalf of our nation, the Holy Spirit will be present and God will hear and move. It’s a big promise. If we fail to take advantage of this opportunity to pray, we have no right to complain about the godless direction of our nation.

The times demand that we step up and speak out.

We who serve the God of love possess the means to bring truth, hope, love, and healing to our fellow Americans. Do we dare keep it to ourselves? We have the light of the world within us. We must allow it to shine into the darkness of sin and hate. Otherwise, darkness will prevail.

Join millions of people as we gather in the public arena today to pray and seek God’s mercy for our nation. We can make a difference, if we will, so gather with your fellow citizens and pray big.

“I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” John 17:20-21 nlt

You might also enjoy: Is it Possible to Make America Great?