Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. [Isaiah 58:1a (NLT)]
Today is the National Day of Prayer. Back in 1952, during the Korean War, the Reverend Billy Graham challenged our nation’s leaders with these words: “What a thrilling, glorious thing it would be to see the leaders of our country today kneeling before Almighty God in prayer. What a thrill would sweep this country. What renewed hope and courage would grip the Americans at this hour of peril.” In response, members of the House and Senate introduced a joint resolution for an annual National Day of Prayer, “on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” President Truman signed a bill proclaiming that a National Day of Prayer must be declared by each subsequent president at an appropriate date of his choice. In 1988, the law was amended and the first Thursday in May was designated as our National Day of Prayer. The day’s purpose is to unite people of all religions in prayer and to renew respect for God throughout the world. This being the United States, the constitutionality of this law has been challenged several times. Fortunately, the challenges have been unsuccessful—chalk one up for the good guys!
Today’s theme is “Wake Up America” and emphasizes the need for every one of us to return to God in reverence for His Holy Name. Dr. Tony Evans, this year’s honorary chairman, authored the following prayer that is to be read throughout our nation at noon. If you won’t be at a worship gathering today, won’t you please read it at noon wherever you happen to be. Join your voice in prayer with the voices of millions of others throughout our nation. As Dr. Evans says, let there be no “secret agent Christians!”
Dear heavenly Father, we come to You today as a humble people desperate for Your supernatural intervention on behalf of our beloved nation. First, we thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on our land, blessings that have allowed us to bring so much good and benefit to not only our own citizens but also to the rest of the world. The very ideals upon which this country was founded were based on biblical truths, no matter how some try to rewrite history to deny that very fact today.
This is why our hearts are so broken over how You continue to be marginalized and dismissed by both our people and our institutions. We are also saddened by the fact that Your people have contributed greatly to the spiritual apathy that now engulfs us. Our satisfaction in remaining religious without being fully committed to living out the truths of Your Word has caused us to become co-conspirators with the forces of evil that are destroying us as a society.
It is for this reason that we personally and collectively repent of our carnality and recommit ourselves to becoming visible and verbal disciples of Jesus Christ. Enable us, by Your Spirit, to no longer be secret agent Christians but rather to publicly declare and live out Your truth in a spirit of love so that You feel welcome in our country once again.
Thank You for Your promise to hear our prayers when we call to You with hearts of repentance and obedience, which is how we are appealing to You today, Father. On behalf of Your church, we affirm afresh the priority You are to us that You would fill every dimension of our lives as we seek to bring You glory through the advancement of Your kingdom in our personal lives, our family lives, and in the lives of our churches and our government leaders. We confidently invite heaven’s intervention into all the affairs of our nation and we praise You in advance for Your answer. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. [2016 National Prayer (Dr. Tony Evans)]