MAKE A DIFFERENCE
As the National Day of Prayer approaches, prepare to intercede for unity in the “bond of peace.”
by DR. RONNIE FLOYD
EACH YEAR SINCE 1988, the National Day of Prayer has been designated as the first Thursday in May. A law that originated in 1952 was unanimously amended by both the House and the Senate and then signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on Thursday, May 8, 1988. This year — May 3, 2018 — will be the 30th anniversary of the National Day of Prayer.
According to the National Day of Prayer website, nationaldayofprayer.org, more than 30,000 observances of the 2017 National Day of Prayer were attended by 2 million people. From sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, 40,000 volunteers organized prayer observances for our nation from small towns to state capitals to Washington, D.C. Additionally, people stopped their activities to pray for America in schools, businesses, churches, homes, county courthouses, and on the steps of city halls. The National Day of Prayer was also experienced in some way in more than 80 countries of the world and is even printed on Hallmark® calendars.
THE NEED FOR PRAYER IN AMERICA HAS NEVER BEEN GREATER
Mobilizing unified public prayer for America may be the most important thing we can do right now for our nation. America is broken. Division is undeniable. Racial tension is alarming. Lawlessness abounds. Reconciliation appears impossible.
Government cannot fix us. Politics will not heal us. America needs God now more than any time in our generation.
It is prayer that precedes and forwards the advancement of the gospel. It is prayer that precedes any great movement of God. It is prayer that will precede the revival of the church and the next great spiritual awakening.
In this desperate and urgent hour when turmoil and division are evident in America and security threats are very real, it is imperative that we do all we can to mobilize unified public prayer for America.
UNITY IS OUR THEME IN 2018
Each year we choose a theme for the annual observances across America. This year our theme is “Pray for America … Unity,” and our Scripture text is Ephesians 4:3: “Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
The culture’s dark, hopeless condition is the perfect backdrop to call America to unity. There is not one person who has lived in this nation in the past five years who would try to convince anyone that this nation is the picture of unity. Our culture is the complete opposite of unity.
The National Day of Prayer is positioned to pray for our nation to experience unity. That is why we are working hard each day to become a multichurch, multidenominational, multiministry, multiethnic, multilingual, and multi-generational movement of prayer for America. We need to infiltrate this entire nation with the message of unity.
BECOME INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY’S PRAYER EVENT
In this season of my life and ministry, I am deeply convinced that one of the greatest things we can do is rally millions of people to pray for America. A great spiritual revival is the greatest need in the church, and the next Great Awakening is the greatest need in America. Prayer must and will precede our generation’s realization of these great needs. That is why I have taken on this calling to lead the National Day of Prayer. I cannot do this without you. In your community, please help us mobilize unified public prayer for America.
Whether you are a layperson or the God-called pastor of a local church, God can use you to make a difference through the National Day of Prayer. Here are five ways you can prepare to be involved on Thursday, May 3, 2018.
- Begin to engage with us now. You can begin to participate with us by signing up for our newsletter on our website at nationaldayofprayer.org. You will receive various articles and communication about all that is occurring between now and the National Day of Prayer in 2018. If you do not use the Internet, you can write to us at the address provided in the sidebar on the next page. We will communicate consistently to keep you informed.
- Plan now to participate in your community’s prayer events. Find an observance in your community or region, and plan to attend. Our website lists those events, but if you do not have access to the web, please call us at the number shown in the sidebar, and we will help you fi nd an observance in your area. If you do not know of an observance, start one with some friends or through your church.
- Begin an additional or a new observance of the National Day of Prayer in your community. Our team is ready to talk to you about what this means. If you go on our website and click “Volunteers,” you can fi nd out how you can create an observance. We will equip you to do it. If you are ready to ask others to be part of your team, together you can plan an event somewhere in your community. You can pray for America in schools, businesses, churches, homes, county courthouses, and on the steps of city halls. Your observance may last only 30 minutes in a business setting or as long as 90 minutes in a large event in your community. Regardless of how long it lasts, we can assist you in planning what is most important.
- Involve your church in prayer for our nation. If I had the opportunity to person- ally speak with every pastor and church in America, I would explain that the National Day of Prayer provides a unique opportunity to engage all kinds of people in their communities who love America and hope for its best. Some of these community members may not know Christ personally, but this service or observance can introduce them in a positive, nonthreatening way to the things of God and the claims of Jesus Christ. Th erefore, talk to your pastor about your church leading an observance of the National Day of Prayer. A church can host an early-morning observance as well as another one at a different time of day. Just think what would happen if each pastor and church in America established a service or observance on the National Day of Prayer. Realize you can create as many observances in your community as desired and there will still not be enough to mobilize your entire community to pray for America. May 3, 2018, should be a day in America where at least 100,000 gatherings occur in observance of the National Day of Prayer. It is my hope that every Christ-follower would want to join with others to pray for America.
- Support the National Day of Prayer in prayer and with a fi nancial gift. For 34 days a year, we prepare for the National Day of Prayer on the fi rst Th ursday of May. Additionally, it is our desire to see God create a great prayer movement in every community that would become a catalyst for the revival in the church and a spiritual awakening in America. Pray for me and for our team. If God leads you, send a financial gift to the National Day of Prayer at the website or mailing address in the sidebar.
You can help us mobilize unified public prayer for America. You can make a difference!
RONNIE FLOYD serves as president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force and senior pastor of Cross Church, Springdale, Arkansas. He is the author of __ books and served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from ____-____. He and his wife, Jeana, have two sons and daughters-in-law and seven grandchildren.
This article originally appeared in Mature Living magazine (March 2018). For more articles like this, subscribe to Mature Living.