2019 | Week of April 29 | #1306
For biblical Christians, what is more powerful than prayer lifted up to the Creator God?
As Christians, we are instructed to pray without ceasing, to pray faithfully for those in leadership in our country, to pray about everything. Praying should be second nature to us, as should be praying for our nation. Often, National Day of Prayer goes unnoticed and rather “untouched” by Bible-believing Christians. I want to challenge all of us this year to consider what a great opportunity this official, government-recognized, yea government-endorsed day affords us. What other nation in this world formally recognizes a day for prayer with its full intention being to pray to the God of the Bible?
The National Day of Prayer has its specific roots in the well-documented accounts of our Founding Fathers calling for public prayer. In 1775, as the men gathered to determine the future of our country, the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray—to pray for wisdom as they made decisions. When the men were meeting to determine our constitution and form of government in the summer of 1787, even Benjamin Franklin, one of the least religious of the founders, acknowledged the need for prayer as they proceeded. In 1863, in the midst of America’s tragic Civil War, President Lincoln, recognizing the need for God’s intervention, proclaimed a day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer.”
Formal government sanction for a National Day of Prayer didn’t come until 1952, when President Harry Truman signed a joint Congressional resolution that declared an annual national day of prayer. Thirty-six years later, in 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Ronald Reagan. This amended law permanently set the day for the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May. By law, the president must proclaim a national day of prayer every year.
You can be sure, given the history of our country and the personal beliefs of our founding fathers and of presidents Lincoln, Truman and Reagan, that they were advocating praying to the God of Heaven, the only One Who hears and answers prayers.
All around our state and nation, including at noon outside our state capitol, people will be gathering to pray for our nation, state, communities, churches, and families. Some of these gatherings will be at city halls, while others will be in churches or other venues.
It is true that not all who join in National Day of Prayer events this year will offer prayers that reach the throne of Almighty God. However, I don’t think their participation should stop us from being involved in this national call to prayer. In fact, it should motivate us all the more.
Those of us who are Christians in the biblical sense of the word, being born-again through Jesus Christ God’s Son, know our prayers on behalf of our nation will be heard. For God’s grace to continue to be shed on America, God’s people must pray for our country, for our leaders, for our military personnel and so much more.
So, on this National Day of Prayer, which is this Thursday, May 2, we encourage you to do something to give special recognition to this day—whether it’s increased time in personal prayer, a special family time of prayer, having some friends join you at your home for prayer, organizing a lunch-hour prayer meeting at work, opening your church for prayer, or attending an organized event. As Christians, let’s lead the way and set the example in prayer.
Not too long ago Judge Barbara Crabb in Wisconsin’s Western District Federal Court ruled that the National Day of Prayer as a congressionally authorized day is unconstitutional. The lawsuit, not surprisingly, was brought by the Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, arguing that they had standing to bring the lawsuit because they had suffered harm in that they felt a “sense of alienation” as a result of the congressional edict. The appellate court didn’t buy that argument and overturned Judge Crabb’s ruling.
I mention this court case against the National Day of Prayer to highlight that those opposed to the influence of Christianity on this country are always looking for ways to remove all vestiges of it from our government and the culture. It may well be that if we don’t use this National Day of Prayer, we might one day lose it.
Obviously, we don’t need a congressional resolution to pray for America. We should do that regularly. But being part of a special day set apart to pray for this country should be something we participate in gladly and safeguard zealously.
For more information and to learn how you can support the work of Wisconsin Family Council, please visit wifamilycouncil.org or call 888-378-7395.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”