National Day of Prayer: Reminder of spiritual roots

By Debra Whittington

Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. Psalm 5:2-3

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 1 Timothy 2:1-3

As I thought about the upcoming National Day of Prayer, I pondered on how much prayer is a part of my life. When I think about all the prayers the Lord has answered I am overwhelmed at His love for not only me, but also those on whose behalf I pray.
  Every morning as soon as I wake up, I start the day in prayer. The first thing I do is thank the Lord for another day He has given me and seek His guidance for the day ahead. During my morning devotional, I pray for understanding of the Scripture I am reading and application for my life. I can’t imagine life without prayer.
  I am so blessed to have a husband who prays for me and with me. Mark is the spiritual leader of our household and encourages me in my prayer life. Before we have breakfast, we spend time in prayer. Sometimes we even pray while taking a walk together.
Mark challenges me in my prayer life by encouraging me to pray for those whom I am angry with or who have mistreated me. His forgiving heart and the prayers I hear during our morning prayer time convicts me of my own bad attitudes.  In James 5:16 we read, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Whether it is prayer on your own or praying in a group, the power of prayer cannot be denied. It creates a bond that draws people together as they share their petitions and praise to God. However, prayer is more than petitioning God for the needs of yourself or others. Prayer is also listening to what the Lord has to say. Billy Graham said, “Prayer is spiritual communication between man and God, a two-way relationship in which man should not only talk to God but also listen to Him.”

I am heartbroken over the number of people who never pray or only pray when there is an urgent need in their lives. I have heard of many so-called “fox-hole” prayers that were uttered when someone was in grave danger. They miss out on so many blessings.

As a nation, we have the opportunity to go before the throne of God together on Thursday, May 3 as we observe the National Day of Prayer. The National Day of Prayer was signed into legislation by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to be observed each year on the first Thursday in May.

  Throughout our nation’s history, our leaders called the people to prayer beginning with the first call to prayer by the Continental Congress in 1775. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation for a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” during the dark days of the Civil War.  Congress passed a joint resolution in 1952 for a national day of prayer each year and was signed by President Harry Truman.

President George W. Bush continues this tradition and issued a proclamation for the 2007 National Day of Prayer. It includes the following: “A prayerful spirit has always been an important part of our national character, and it is a force that has guided the American people, given us strength, and sustained us in moments of joy and in times of challenge. On this National Day of Prayer, we acknowledge God’s grace and ask for His continued guidance in the life of our Nation. Americans of many faiths and traditions share a common belief that God hears the prayers of His children and shows grace to those who seek Him”.

One opportunity people of our area have to observe the National Day of Prayer is to attend a special prayer service at First Baptist Church in Tucumcari on Thursday, May 3, at noon. The service will last approximately 45 minutes so people can get back to work. During the service, there will be special prayer for our country and its leaders including state and local levels, the armed forces, and other needs in our country. I plan to attend and hope the readers will do the same.