Thursday, May 1st, 2014, will be the National Day of Prayer. The annual observance is held on the first Thursday of May, and has been designated by the United States Congress as a day when people are asked to “turn to God in prayer and meditation.” This year’s theme is taken from Romans 15:6, “so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Traditionally, the president signs a proclamation in which he encourages all Americans to pray on behalf of our nation. As one example, President Reagan declared in his 1983 proclamation:
From General Washington’s struggle at Valley Forge to the present, this Nation has fervently sought and received divine guidance as it pursued the course of history. This occasion provides our Nation with an opportunity to further recognize the source of our blessings, and to seek His help for the challenges we face today and in the future.
Although this specific national day of prayer goes back to 1952, days of prayer, repentance, and public humiliation have been called since at least 1775. In David McCullough’s masterful book, 1776, he narrates how God’s Providence was invited and welcomed, and clearly present, in the first year of the founding of the United States. In recent decades, however, regular readers to my blog, as well as readers of Touchstone and Salvo are acutely aware of how God’s presence has been removed day by day, and today, many tens of millions in our nation walk in great spiritual and moral darkness. And yet, we know that God’s righteous judgments are true and righteous altogether, as President Lincoln reminded us in the immortal words of his second inaugural address of March 1865, as he quoted from Psalm 19, verse 9.
On that day, many will gather to pray throughout our nation for local and national leaders, and for those in our civic institutions of influence, such as educators, police, firemen, and other emergency responders, the military, our business leaders, and our nation’s clergy, and others. Some churches will be open throughout the day for people to gather and pray. Although the constitutionality of a congressionally-authorized national day of prayer has been challenged in the courts, so far at least, it has been found to be constitutional. An interesting aspect of this year’s National Day of Prayer is its international expansion; Australian prayer leaders have called for 100 nations to join together in 48 hours of prayer and fasting on behalf of the United States during April 30th and May 1st. Here is a short video in which Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer, senior pastor of the historic Moody Church in Chicago, prays for our nation. To find a gathering place for prayer in your community, please see this link here. If you are unable to attend a particular event, you can also join in this year’s national observance, available here that will be broadcast live on Thursday morning, from 9 A.M. until noon, EST.
This year, let us again join together in prayer for the United States. Let us pray, in the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14, that our nation and its people repent of our pride, wickedness, and self-idolatry, and beg God to enter our government, legal system, churches, families, education, military, business, media, and the arts. Even more importantly, let us pray that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ would reject her often lukewarm, superficial, uncaring, and trivial attitude, and arise to her God-given responsibilities to the Lord Jesus Christ, and return to her first love for God, as we read in Revelation 3. May God bless the United States of America, but far more importantly, may the people of the United States bless God and His Holy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.