This Thursday, May 7, is the National Day of Prayer. It is an official acknowledgment that this singular, exceptional country was birthed in prayer and reverence for God. But for decades, our country has turned its back on God. We have pushed him out of the public square and believed the lie that our successes and blessings are a result of our own efforts and ingenuity.
Now, economic uncertainty looms, health and safety are at the forefront of our minds and challenges to our biblical values and fundamental constitutional rights are increasing. This novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic reminds us that we are not in control and that we need God's wisdom for our lives and for our nation.
Abraham Lincoln, our nation's 16th president, found himself facing a crisis of a similar magnitude during the American Civil War, which to this day remains the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history. On March 30, 1863, at the height of the war, President Lincoln called for "a day for national humiliation, fasting and prayer," saying:
"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.
"We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!"
Nearly 160 years later, President Lincoln's words speak to America again, calling us to come together in prayer.
The theme of this year's National Day of Prayer is to pray for God's glory to be displayed across the earth as the prophet Habakkuk proclaimed thousands of years ago: "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14).
I hope that millions of Christians who have never participated in the National Day of Prayer will join this year, and I encourage you to invite your friends, family members and neighbors to pray with you. While we may not be able to gather together physically to pray, we can still pray right where we are.
Here are three ways you can participate in the National Day of Prayer:
1. Watch the One Voice Prayer Movement live event today from 12-2 p.m. EDT and join with My Faith Votes, Intercessors for America, and other ministries to unite in prayer for our country.
2. Visit MyFaithVotes.org for a free prayer guide that will help you to pray faithfully for your leaders by name.
3. Contact your elected officials using our online tool to let them know that you are praying for them.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, we read, "If My people, who are called by My name, will 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 will heal their land.
I believe if we humble ourselves and unite in prayer, God will bring renewal and revival to our nation in this time of great crisis. He has done it before, and we can trust Him to do it again.
Jason Yates is the CEO of My Faith Votes, a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians pray, think and act to create an America where God is honored in the public square. Learn more at MyFaithVotes.org.
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