For every Christian, prayer is an integral part of daily life. It is how we talk to God; how we unload our cares, doubts, troubles, hopes and dreams to Him; how we commune with Him and give Him praise and worship. Martin Luther once said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” During the National Day of Prayer, celebrated on May 7 this year, we are reminded to pray, not just for ourselves and those around us, but for the nation as a whole. You can join with thousands of prayer groups across the country that are planning a special time of prayer for our nation at 12 p.m. on that day to petition God for our nation.
Created more than 60 years ago by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, the National Day of Prayer (NDP) is an annual observance, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. Despite this ecumenical origin, the NDP Task Force is a privately-funded organization representing a Judeo-Christian expression of this observance.
According to the Task Force website, “It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.”
Did you know?
-It is estimated that over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances.
-There have been 143 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by presidents of the United States from 1789-2014.
-There have been 66 presidential proclamations for a National Day of Prayer (1952-2014). Gerald R. Ford (1976), George H. Bush (1989-91) and Barack H. Obama (2012) are the only U.S. Presidents to sign multiple National Day of Prayer proclamations in the same year.
-Every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation
How can I get involved?
There are two main things you can do to become a part of this powerful mission: Become a person of prayer and pray with others
What does this mean and how does it translate to daily life? Firstly, the NDP Task Force has many useful links on their site that will help you learn more about the power of prayer and how to apply that power to your life every day.
Becoming a person of prayer
We should pray for the following reasons.
-We love God.
-We depend on Him.
-We need to resist temptation, and
-God commands us to “pray without ceasing.”
Christian author C.S. Lewis once said, “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It does not change God – it changes me.”
How should we pray?
-Open our hearts. When we prepare to come before the Lord in prayer, we should confess known sin in our life and forgive all those who have offended or hurt us.
-Have a purpose. It’s helpful to know what you’re going to pray about and seek God for. Sometimes, when we don’t know, we can pray in the Spirit.
-Study the Word. We talk to God through prayer, and God speaks to us through His Word. By knowing the Word, we can know God’s will on the matter without a doubt.
-Meditate on the Lord’s Prayer. As simple as it is, it is the blueprint from Jesus Himself of how to pray: acknowledging our relationship with God, praising Him, submitting our will to His, asking for daily provision, seeking forgiveness and forgiving others, and entreating Him for deliverance from evil.
Praying with others
In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Praying together is powerful.
While many churches are planning special prayers services on this day, here are a few local venues where you can gather for prayer on the National day of Prayer:
-Coral Springs: Residents, family and friends will gather to pray at Coral Springs Charter School cafeteria, located at 3205 University Drive on the southeast corner of Sample and University at 7 p.m. on May 7. Contact Lydia Cutz at 954-344-1063 for more information on this free event.
-Fort Lauderdale: A Broward National Day of Prayer Breakfast is being held on May 7 from 7 to 9 a.m. at Salvation Army Worship Center, 100 SW 9th Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $13 and can be ordered online at www.eventbrite.com/e/broward-national-day-of-prayer-breakfast-tickets-16109030544
–Calvary Chapel will host a special time of prayer from 12 – 1 p.m. on May 7 at all of their regional campuses with extended hours of prayer at various locations. Join them in the Sanctuary for live worship, God’s Word, prayer, and a special message beginning at noon. For more information visit www.calvaryftl.org/event/709959-2015-05-07-64th-national-day-of-prayer
-West Palm Beach – The Community Prayer Room will be open at Atlantic Christian Academy, 4900 Summit Blvd, Room 302, West Palm Beach, from 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. in observance of the National Day of Prayer. They will also be organizing a special time of prayer for our nation at 12 p.m. to coincide with thousands of other prayer groups from around the country. Visit www.communityprayerroom.com for more information.
Schott Community Center will host a prayer meeting at 7:00 p.m. at 6591 S. Flamingo Rd. Cooper City, FL 33330
The following additional locations will host prayer from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.:
City of Sunrise – (by the flag pole) 10610 West Oakland Park Blvd. Sunrise, FL 33351
City of Fort Lauderdale – City Hall, Commissioners Chambers, 100 North Andrews Ave. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
City of Lauderhill – City Hall, 5581 West Oakland Park Blvd. Lauderhill, FL 33313
City of Lauderdale Lakes – Multi-purpose Room, 4320 NW 36th St. Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33319
How to pray for the nation
The NDP Task Force provides many helpful links and prayer guides to help us petition God’s intervention in our country. We should continually pray for our leaders, regardless of personal political leanings; praying that they be granted wisdom, knowledge and understanding (James 1:5); that they be God-fearing (Proverbs 9:10); and, that they desire honesty, integrity and loyalty (Psalms 26, Proverbs 11:3).
For useful links on the National Day of Prayer and how to pray in general, visit nationaldayofprayer.org.
“There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” – A.T. Pierson
Keisha McDonnough is a research analyst and writer. A Jamaican native and South Florida resident, she is passionate about poetry and vow writing. Check out her website at everaftervows.com.