Today is the 70th annual observance of the National Day of Prayer.
According to NDP website, a joint resolution by Congress which was signed by President Harry Truman in 1952 declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed an amended law that set aside the first Thursday of every May. Since then every President has signed a proclamation, encouraging Americans to pray on this day. Following that precedent, President Biden signed a proclamation for today to be declared a National Day of Prayer.
This year’s theme is “Exalt the Lord Who Has Established Us.”
It is good that our leaders recognize the need for prayer. It is in keeping with Paul’s proclamation, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” (1 Tim. 2:1-2)
Our forefathers believed in God and in prayer. The first Day of Prayer was in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation. Calls for national prayer continued throughout history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer” in 1863.
The Psalmist said, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Sadly, as a nation, we have strayed away from God. There are many problems that plague our land. Franklin Graham expressed his concern this way:
“I believe our nation is in trouble today, probably more than I’ve seen in my lifetime. We are contending with issues that are causing the very foundation of our country to crumble. Our moral and spiritual roots are eroding, the economy is misleading, family life is disintegrating, and political forces are at unprecedented odds. There seem to be very few leaders who will take a stand for God and for His Word.”
“It can be tempting to believe that America has reached a point of no return,” wrote Graham. “While these factors cause despair, we are reminded in Scripture that with God, nothing is impossible. No problem is too great for Him. Seasons of distress and uncertainty and hardship call for faithful, fervent prayer by God’s people and remind us of our responsibility to humble ourselves before Almighty God. We cannot expect healing to come to our nation apart from obedience to God through His Holy Word.”
Jehovah’s words to Solomon regarding Israel aptly describe our needs today. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chr. 7:14).
In that spirit I offer this simple prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father,
We acknowledge you as our Creator. Our Protector. Our Sustainer. The One and only true God.
Father, our land is broken. Hearts are hurting. And the souls of our citizens are being sacrificed on altars of selfish ambition, personal pride, materialistic pursuits, moral compromise, political correctness, and unbridled lusts.
We pray for our governmental leaders. From our local communities to the President. May they seek your counsel, wisdom, and will. May decisions be made and laws enacted that honor Truth and Righteousness.
We pray for our homes. Strengthen husbands and wives. Parents and children. May the family values of your Word be once again valued, taught, and lived as we mold young hearts.
We pray for our religious leaders. May churches, preachers, and pastors be faithful to your Word. Proclaim your Truth. And reject and repudiate every false way.
We pray personally that each of us may examine our own hearts. Admit our sins. Confess our failures. And humbly repent. We ask your forgiveness. We seek your guidance. We beg for your mercy.
Thank you, Father, for your love. For all blessings, both physical and spiritual. And for the gracious gift of Your Son through whom we can receive redemption.
Deliver us from evil. Protect us from harm. Give us strength, courage, and resolve to be faithful.
With thankful hearts, we offer this prayer in the name of Jesus, our Lord, and Savior.
—-Ken Weliever, The Preacherman