A Day of Prayer
May 1, 2023
In the early 1950s, an evangelical movement called for Congress and the President to proclaim a National Day of Prayer. The movement grew and a young leader, Evangelist Billy Graham, led services for approximately 20,000 on the steps of the Capitol on February 3, 1952. Later that year, Congress proclaimed a joint resolution for a National Day of Prayer. President Harry S. Truman proclaimed a National Day of Prayer to be observed on July 4, 1952. Each year since that date, Americans have observed the day in their own way. The observance moved to the first Thursday in May by President Ronald Reagan and has been proclaimed each year since. Interestingly, the President is required by law each year to sign a proclamation calling the citizens to “meditation and prayer” on this day.
This Thursday, May 4, is 2023’s National Day of Prayer.
You and I have heard comments throughout our nation from time to time when a tragedy hits and people from the ordinary to the national leaders say, “Let’s pray.” There are so many challenges and violence around our nation that it has become an expected experience.
Many also express the opinion that prayer has no effect. I can understand that—I have wondered at times in my life if I was praying in vain. But after decades of experience in following Jesus and communicating through prayer, here’s what I know to be true.
Prayer does more than you realize because God is doing more than you can see. Jesus said these words in John 5:17 NLT: “My Father is always working, and so am I.” It is easy to believe when we can see something with our natural eyes, and it’s not so easy when we can’t see. But it doesn’t change the truth.
2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV says, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” It’s not necessary to see to believe. We CHOOSE, and life flows from our choice.
2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” The things we CAN’T see are more lasting and real than the ones we can see.
We can be sure and certain that God is working even if we can’t see it or feel it. We can be certain that God is fighting our battles, working out things for our very best, and making a way for us even when we don’t see a way.
Romans 8:28 reminds us that God will always work all things together for our good.
The more you pray the less you panic. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything…. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”
If we prayed more, we would worry less. What are you worried about? How about naming it and begin to pray for it.
Jesus said, “My house will be called a place of prayer.” We typically think of His house as a building—a church facility. But Jesus says He doesn’t dwell in houses built by hands, but in the hearts of His people.
How about making your “house” a house of prayer, especially on Thursday, for the needs of our nation, the world, and our communities? Then make sure your “house” is a house of prayer every day.