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    Praying on the National Day of Prayer

    Are you praying today for our country and its leaders? Are you observing the National Day of Prayer?

    Our country needs all the prayers we can muster on its behalf today and every day. If you haven’t already, pause for a few moments and ask for God’s blessings and protection for our land, for the President and all other governmental leaders, for our military men and women, for our communities and our families. Pray for all that God places on your heart for this time in our nation’s life.

    In issuing his 2011 National Day of Prayer proclamation, President Barack Obama talked about the important role that prayer has played in America and in shaping its leaders. He invited all citizens to join him in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy in this country.

    “On this National Day of Prayer, let us follow the example of President Lincoln and Dr. King. Let us be thankful for the liberty that allows people of all faiths to worship or not worship according to the dictates of their conscience, and let us be thankful for the many other freedoms and blessings that we often take for granted,” he said.

    He concluded with this, “… and I ask all people of faith to join me in asking God for guidance, mercy, and protection for our Nation.”

    President Obama, who needs our continued prayer, joins every president since Harry Truman in 1952 who have signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation. Now in its 60th year, the day has been observed on the first Thursday of May since 1988.

    Not everyone thinks that the government should be calling U.S. citizens to a national day of prayer. Those against the government-sanctioned prayer day cite separate of church and state, among them the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.  Last year a federal judge in Wisconsin struck down the the annual observance, calling it unconstitutional and saying the government should not promote a religious message. However, in mid-April a U.S.  appeals court overturned that decision.

    I have become more attentive to this day in a purely personal way, since leaving my life as a journalist and as I have grown in my own prayer life. I feel the urgency for the corporate, national prayer that is taking place in Washington and across the country  among believers today. A friend mentioned that her Baptist church in suburban Washington will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and that the pastor has urged members to come to church and pray during that time.

    The government-sanctioned prayer day does not bother me. No one is being forced to pray, just encouraged to join together.  And our government leaders need our collective prayers. I am glad to know I have elected officials who pray and think is important enough in the life of this country to call us to prayer one day a year. The country certainly can use the prayers given the problems that tear at the moral, political, economic and religious fiber of our society.

    This morning I watched on God TV a portion of the annual service that was being held at the Cannon House Office building and was moved to pray along with several speakers. Marine Capt. Ryna Voltin, Chaplain of the Senate Barry Black and freshman Congressman Allen West were among those speaking about the power of prayer to bring about change and strength in our lives. At one point, everyone paused to pray Colossians 1:9 for the Legislative Branch of government.

    “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”

    It’s a good prayer for all of us to pray for our leaders and for each other today and everyday. 

    Take time and meditate on the entire chapter, Colossians 1. You will be blessed.

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                                                           The 2011 National Prayer

                                                          by Joni Eareckson Tada, Honorary Chairman

    Almighty God, you are our Mighty Fortress, our refuge and the God in whom we place our trust. As our nation faces great distress and uncertainty, we ask your Holy Spirit to fall afresh upon your people — convict us of sin and inflame within us a passion to pray for our land and its people. Grant the leaders of our country an awareness of their desperate need of wisdom and salvation in You until sin becomes a reproach to all and righteousness exalts this nation.

    Protect and defend us against our enemies and may the cause of Christ always prevail in our schools, courts, homes, and churches. Lord God, send a spirit of revival and may it begin in our own hearts.

    Remember America, we pray. Remember the foundations on which this country was built. Remember the prayers of our nation’s fathers and mothers, and do not forget us in our time of need.

    In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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