I saw it in fine print as I was looking ahead in my planner. Then I flipped some pages on the calendar hanging on my wall and saw it again, right under the picture of purple flowers with a mountain in the background. There it was in the square reserved for May 5, the designation “National Day of Prayer.”
Wow! A national day of prayer!
I rejoice that a day on the calendar encourages me to pause and pray. To remember that the almighty God invites us to call on him and promises to answer. To reflect on the truth of James 5:16, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Covered with Christ’s righteousness, we pray with confidence because the One to whom we pray is all-powerful and will respond.
Prayer is a precious privilege. So why don’t we celebrate the National Day of Prayer more?
We bring flowers and breakfast in bed to Mom on the second Sunday in May but do nothing special on the first Thursday. We travel to celebrate confirmations and graduations with family and friends, but I’ve never heard of anyone who booked a flight to spend the National Day of Prayer with relatives. We look forward to Memorial Day as a bittersweet, three-day weekend marking the unofficial beginning of summer while honoring those who sacrificed their lives to our nation, but we don’t grill out for prayer.
Is it possible that prayer has become so commonplace among us that it has been relegated to the same importance as coffee, pancakes, and pirates, which also have national days? If you regularly pray before a meal but halfway through the meal ask yourself, “Did I pray?” perhaps your prayers have become too routine.
Shall we use the National Day of Prayer as a catalyst to pull out our catechism, review the section on prayer, and renew our zeal for the blessings of prayer?
Or do we avoid the National Day of Prayer because of its downside? Groups across the country organize interfaith prayer events in which all religions are treated as equal and their prayers as equally valid. The problem is that they are not equal. Many of the religious leaders at these events deny Christ! These are people we need to pray for, not pray with.
By God’s grace alone, you and I know the one Mediator through whom our prayers are powerful and effective. Christ Jesus is our sinless High Priest who opened God’s throne room to us.
Through Christ, the three-year-old child of God learns about prayer and asks her heavenly Father to help her sick dolly. The Father smiles at her faith and answers as he alone can. Through Christ, the nine-decade-old child of God asks his Lord to deliver him from evil and take him home to heaven. Then he patiently waits, trusting that his Father will answer at the right time to grant him a blessed end.
Through Christ, you and I at every stage of life call on God in the day of trouble. We cast our anxieties on him. We ask him for daily bread and daily forgiveness. We offer him our praise and thanks. Our Father is pleased when we pray to him; he listens and answers for our good.
The National Day of Prayer is a good opportunity to remember the privilege of prayer. So, go ahead . . . mark it on your calendar. Then pray, Christian, pray. Pray continually to your Savior.
Author: Nathan Wagenknecht
Volume 109, Number 05
Issue: May 2022