For sixty-four years, the National Day of Prayer has been observed on the first Thursday of May. Established in 1952, the day was approved by the U.S. Congress and has been observed by each President since with a proclamation.
The day is designed to remind people to turn back to God in prayer and repentance. This year’s theme is, “Lord, Hear Our Cry,” with 1 Kings 8:28 as the theme verse: “Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.” Dr. Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Bible Church in Plano, TX serves as this year’s honorary chair.
Every year, the National Day of Prayer task force releases materials and guides for Americans, specifically Christians, on what to pray for regarding the government, schools, churches, and communities. They also strongly encourage personal repentance and righteousness from Christians in the culture.
John Bornschein, vice chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, told The Christian Post that America could see another great awakening if, “…we humble ourselves and pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways.”
The call to repentance for a nation isn’t new. In fact, Scripture is full of verses where the Lord calls Israel and others to do just that. The pleas of the prophets ring with the cry to come back to the Lord and walk in His ways. The first call of Jesus’ ministry was for people to repent and believe the gospel. Paul reminded his churches that repentance and knowing Jesus were the only ways to live.
As we approach this National Day of Prayer, it is good for us to meditate on the call to repent and become one with Jesus. It is right that this call should start within the church. We should be moved to deal with our sin, unconfessed before the Lord. Who better than the church – and the individuals it is made of – to be an example to our nation of what it truly means to humble ourselves before the Lord, confess and repent of our sins and walk in the way of the Word? Out of this repentance and renewal, we can then truly pray for our country, governments, and communities to know the Lord and His gospel.