Today is set aside as the National Day of Prayer.
It was in 1952 that the first bill passed establishing that there would be such a day. Then, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared that this would be on the first Thursday in May each year.
And so we have set aside one day that we seek to pray for our country and its leaders.
I am aware that such a day can become political if we are not careful. But that should not be the purpose of the day. Rather, the point is that we wish to remember our nation and those who lead us, and to lift them up in prayer.
We believe that our world, our country, our community and our families are better when we include God in them. We believe that he is our Creator and Sustainer, and that we live best when we submit to him in every area of life.
Early this morning, my church will be opened for a time of prayer. Then around the lunch hour there will be a gathering for prayer at the courthouse. And later this evening the Christian church will be open for more private prayers.
But even if you have not been able to participate in any of the public times of prayer, may I encourage you to pray for our land. Pray for those who are in positions of leadership, whether at the national, state or local levels. Pray for those who are running for office. Pray for pastors and churches. And pray for yourself and your family.
Paul said near the end of his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, "Pray without ceasing." In that verse, he was not telling us to do nothing but pray. He knows that we need to work, to spend time with family, to eat and to sleep.
But he is encouraging us to be in a spirit of prayer at all times.
What if you and I prayed as we should? What a change we could make in our world! Every revival throughout history has had its beginning point in prayer.
Would you make the following commitment? Would you become a person of prayer? Pray without ceasing. Your world will be better for it.