In times of uncertainty and crisis we, as a nation, have turned to God in faith and sought His help. Thursday, May 7, is the National Day of Prayer.
Here is a bit of its background and history from the National Day Calendar:
“The National Day of Prayer is observed annually on the first Thursday in May. This day of observance, designated by the United States Congress, asks people ‘to turn to God in prayer and meditation.’ The modern law formalizing the annual National Day of Prayer observance was enacted in 1952 and each year since, the President of the United States has signed a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.
"Before 1952, there have been a few other individual National Days of Prayer in United States history:
July 20, 1775: The Continental Congress issued a proclamation recommending ‘a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer’ be observed.
In 1795: George Washington proclaimed a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.
May 9, 1798: John Adams declared this day as ‘a day of solemn humility, fasting, and prayer.’
March 1863: On March 3, Abraham Lincoln signed a Congressional resolution during the Civil War, which called for April 30, 1863, as a day of fasting and prayer.”
Throughout our history as a nation, there have been many times of desperation and need. The COVID-19 virus and its effects on individuals and society as a whole may be the most serious we have ever faced. I believe in the resiliency of the American people and our willingness to deny ourselves for the greater good.
But in a situation such as this, we also need to renew our dependence upon God, himself, and his Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
The church has also found itself in a very unique position. The ministry of the church is absolutely essential. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. But the routine activities of the church are not.
We have discovered that we can minister and thrive without a single person sitting in our sanctuaries. COVID-19 has forced the Church to examine itself and renew its complete dependence upon God, as well.
So then, what shall we do? During the dedication of the first temple, the Lord spoke to Solomon and said,
“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:12-14.
I thank God for all those who are on the front lines of this battle, from doctors, nurses and first responders to gas station attendants, food service workers, truck drivers and all the rest. With so many people sacrificing so much to help us through this critical time, what shall our response be?
May I suggest that one response should be prayer? Both individual and corporate prayer is needed. Gather with family and friends via Skype or Zoom and join in a concert of prayer for our nation and our leaders.
To that end, I invite you all to join me on Facebook on Thursday, May 7 at noon for a time of prayer and supplication with thanksgiving for America. May God bless you richly.
“On Faith” is a weekly column in the News-Chronicle written by area religious leaders.