As I write this, today is officially the National Day of Prayer. This morning I was privileged to lead a devotional prayer time with a group of teachers and staff at a local elementary school around the flag pole. We sang “America the Beautiful”, “What a friend we have in Jesus” and “Amazing Grace” together with the aid of another pastor friend who is more musically inclined than I with a guitar. There was no discussion of denominational preferences of those gathered. It was simply a time for us to pray to Almighty God for our nation, our state, our community and ourselves and to give thanks to God for His blessings upon our nation. Our nation has a long history of setting aside a national day of prayer. Consider these facts:
· 1775 – The first Continental Congress called for a National Day of Prayer
· 1863 – Abraham Lincoln called for such a day.
· 1952 – Congress established NDP as an annual event by a joint resolution, signed into law by President Truman
· 1988 – The law was amended and signed by President Reagan, designating the NDP as the first Thursday in May.
One of the Architects of the Constitution of the United States and later President Thomas Jefferson said in 1808: “Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it.”
I read to the group the encouragement of the Apostle Paul from 1st Tim. 2:1-4 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
We have a God-given mandate to pray for our national, state and local leaders and that is what we did today. We prayed for wisdom for them as they lead us and as Paul petitioned that “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. We prayed that they would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. In spite of the challenges, problems and evils that plague our nation, God has given us the ability to speak directly to Him about these needs and we need to be reminded the solutions to our national problems are not political, but spiritual and the Good News of Jesus Christ is the message to be proclaimed. God has promised when His people will humble themselves in prayer and repent He’ll hear from Heaven and heal their land. (2nd Chron. 7:14).
I also want to remind our church family of the need to pray for our church. I asked the church to fast and pray back in August and we’ve reiterated that request along the way most recently on Sunday night April 14th after our CIC with a call to fast and pray for the church weekly. We need to pray for unity, we need to pray for faithfulness to our mission of making disciples and glorifying our Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t mind telling you and I’m certain Pastors Ken & Mike would agree we covet and desperately need your prayers for us as we serve and minister here.
We can thank the Lord for the marvelous mission fair and for all the hard work of our mission committee and volunteers who made it not just a reality; but a tremendously exciting and encouraging day of worship. We can pray that God will use the excitement generated by that wonderful event to encourage us to “Be Missions” every day and to follow through with our commitment to be involved in missions this year personally.
We need to pray for faithfulness in the area of our tithes and offerings so we can fully fund the work of God’s Kingdom. We are greatly concerned at how our giving is down dramatically and we know this is in part due to the condition of our economy. God has promised that His financial program for funding the work of the ministry through the local church always works regardless of the economic conditions (Malachi 3:8-12). You do not need to pray about your tithe (10%) as God has already claimed the tithe belongs to Him. Every faithful tithing Christian knows the reality you cannot out give God.
I would also ask you to pray intently for your personnel committee who has begun the process of searching out the man God will call to be our minister of students. The personnel committee will be bringing updates monthly to the church as to our progress and you’ll be hearing us call you to come and pray for this man and his family and that God will make His will known to us. My prayer is God will guide us to this person sooner rather than later. We need to pray for ourselves in this process also because trust has been so horribly violated; there will be a tendency for us to be fearful and not embrace, support, encourage and follow the leadership of the man God will call to serve in ministry to our students and college and career. When God makes His will known to us and calls this person through much prayer; we’ll have the confidence we need and the joy of knowing that God has brought us His man to serve and labor in this field of service with us.
Today, I’m fasting and praying for our nation, our state, our local leaders, but primarily for this body of believers called Calvary Baptist Church. Please join me in prayer, from my little corner of the world to yours…