Just in Time! The National Day of Prayer

If ever there was a time when the citizens of our nation needed to bow in prayer before the throne of God, isn’t this it?  The daily news reveals that our nation’s soul is wounded.

I mean, Kermit Gosnell snips babies’ necks, and abortion continues unabated across our land.  Our own government has taken a stand against religious liberty, attempting to force Christian employers to violate their consciences by enacting the HHS Mandate.  The Boston Marathon bombings and the Benghazi terrorist attack have reminded us of our vulnerability on the world stage.  The “War on Christmas” continues, with the Freedom From Religion Foundation bringing numerous court cases against displays of the Nativity.  Popular culture has continued its nosedive, mixing vulgarity with blasphemy in Terrence McNally’s play “Corpus Christi,” depicting Christ having sex with the apostles.

My advice, in the face of such a bleak report:  Pray always.  Pray in the morning, and again at noon, as you work out, as you enjoy your morning cup of coffee, as you drive to the office or mow the lawn or stand at the sink washing dishes.  Pray for your family, that they will keep their eyes on the prize, resisting societal pressure to give up the ideals you’ve tried to foster.  Pray for your friends and for your community.  Pray for yourself.

And especially, pray on Thursday.

You see, Thursday, May 2 is the National Day of Prayer.  On that day, Americans will gather in prayer in front of courthouses and flagpoles, as well as in houses of worship such as churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples.

This year’s event is the 62nd annual observance of the National Day of Prayer.  Since 1988, it has always been held on the first Thursday of May.

The National Day of Prayer Committee announced this year’s theme and explained the need:

As our nation struggles with continued economic insecurity, vast healthcare reform, and countless challenges to our constitutional rights, citizens of the United States are preparing to exercise their freedom to gather, worship, and pray.  Millions will answer the call to prayer on May 2nd in observance of the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer.  Organized events will be held in thousands of public venues where intercession will be made for America and its leadership.

This year’s theme, “Pray for America”, is based on Matthew 12:21 which reminds us that “In His name the nations will put their hope.”  National Day of Prayer (NDP) Task Force Chairman Shirley Dobson, wife of Family Talk founder Dr. James Dobson, has said that, “The American people continue to be plagued with challenges that defy simple answers, and our hope lies in humbly seeking the Almighty’s guidance, protection, and blessing – not only on the National Day of Prayer, but throughout the year.”

Plan to pray alone or, if possible, join with others in your community, your workplace, your school or your parish, to pray at noon on Thursday.  You may attend a noon Mass, or pray a Rosary in your home, or attend a special event.

If you like, the National Day of Prayer Committee offers the following prayer, appropriate for public gatherings.

A PRAYER FOR OUR NATION

Father, we come to You to pray for our nation, the United States of America.

How You have blessed us through the years, Lord! We rightly sing, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee.” Yet we see trouble in our culture today. We see the breakdown of the family, crippling addictions, and random acts of horrific violence.

Lord, we need Your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have “forgotten God.” But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.

Scripture tells us that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs14:34). Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape. As the psalmist said, “Will You not revive us again, so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6)

That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land. (2 Chronicles7:14)

Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much.

We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ.

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