Today, as on every first Thursday of May, the National Day of Prayer is being observed.
Originally suggested by the Continental Congress is 1775, the modern National Day of Prayer was enacted in 1952.
As described on the web site of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a privately-funded organization that promotes the Day, the purpose of the Day is meant for an appeal to “people of all faiths to pray for the nation.” According to the Task Force, past observances have brought together over two million people annually at events in 30,000 government buildings, schools, churches, businesses and private homes across America.
Members of the Project 21 black leadership network are proud to be among those millions celebrating this year’s National Day of Prayer. And they see this year as more meaningful than most due to the hardships our nation has recently endured.
Demetrius Minor, a college and career coordinator who is also an evangelist and motivational speaker and who is currently preparing for further religious studies at ministerial training center, said:
These events are certainly a synopsis of our religious culture. It serves as a reminder of how important these traditions are in Christendom and the need to commemorate them.
But prayer cannot simply be condensed into a single day. It is not something that can be dusted off a shelf once and year and expected to perform at its highest magnitude. Prayer must be a lifestyle.
I am not desensitized by the traditional events surrounding the National Day of Prayer. The spiritual unity that is witnessed during this day is beneficial and definitely needed. This lone event, however, does not account for a personal relationship with God and an active prayer life.
Prayer can change and alter any situation. When God sees an adamant desire by one to communicate with him, he feels compelled to intervene on our behalf. It is the power that makes an alcoholic feel an eradication for his desire of drunkenness. It is the power of prayer that can take a wounded heart of a depressed soul and set it free. The power of prayer faces no limits or boundaries. It is not bound by natural obstacles or setbacks.
We will never learn to grow in our faith and relationship with God by simply waiting for a National Day of Prayer event to speak with him. Prayer must certainly be a lifestyle. It should be something we yearn to do. Prayer must be a lifestyle.
Council Nedd II, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church and chairman of In God We Trust pro-faith in government organization, said:
As we go in to this National Day of Prayer, the events of the last few weeks are most likely in the forefront of most of our minds. The tragedy and tumult of recent times is undoubtedly helping people reconnect with religion.
So why does a national tragedy have to occur in order for the nation — as individuals — to find a value in prayer? Do people ever stop and think that more faith and more prayer and more reliance on God might prevent some of these catastrophic events from happening?
Derryck Green, who is currently pursuing a doctorate in theology and ministry in southern California, said:
Today, as Americans participate in the National Day of Prayer, we should be mindful that our prayers — regardless of our religious tradition — reflect our thankfulness for the blessings that God has bestowed upon our nation.
At the same time, all is not well in our nation. As such, and as I Timothy 2:2 counsels, our prayers and intercessions should be made for all people. This includes those in authority — no matter what their political affiliations are — so that we may live in peace. Let us humbly pray for our nation, our military and civic and religious leaders that God may grant them mercy, much needed courage, very much needed wisdom and guidance.
Let us also pray to God and ask that he forgive of our sins individually as well as corporately as a nation. We should ask God to remove the many manifestations of impurity that finds its way into our lives, and hinder us from personifying the righteousness and justice that he desires. Americans should also fervently pray that God restores our land from the infirmities that afflict our nation.
It is my hope, as noted in Jeremiah 29:12-13, that we earnestly and sincerely seek God in prayer — not only that he may hear us, but also that we may find him.
May God continue bless and restore our lives and our nation as we humble ourselves before him today.
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