On May 4, Americans will gather at courthouses, schools, parks and churches to publicly pray for our nation. Such an intentional focus on prayer is always needed but also has never been more needed.
As I write this, our nation is reeling from yet another school shooting, this one at a private Christian school in Nashville. Families and businesses in several states are cleaning up from a weekend of severe weather March 24–26 that killed more than two dozen people in Mississippi and one person in Alabama.
And I have no doubt that in your life, you can think of a family or an individual who is coping with illness, grief or pain in one way or another. The words of 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray without ceasing,” seem to take on fresh urgency daily.
While we lift our prayers daily for the hurting, the National Day of Prayer offers an opportunity to join together in one mind and one accord.
This year, the National Day of Prayer theme is “Pray Fervently in Righteousness and Avail Much,” based on James 5:16b.
Curiosity led me to look up “fervent.” The word usually describes a “great intensity of feeling,” but an alternate definition is “hot, glowing, boiling, burning.”
That second definition calls to mind the prophet Isaiah and his vision of a hot, glowing, fiery coal, symbolic of both God’s wrath and His love.
As I browse the daily headlines, I hear the echo of Scripture: “You (Lord) are indeed angry, for we have sinned. In these ways we continue; and we need to be saved” (Isa. 64:5).
Oh that our prayers for healing, for peace, for our youth would avail. That we would, as National Day of Prayer Task Force president Kathy Branzell says, recognize where God is moving and pledge to join His work.
“Even as our words hang in the air, He is already answering. …
“He takes our intercession and impacts not just the course of time, but the course of souls and the Kingdom.
“God uses our prayers to write the history books of tomorrow.”
I’m looking forward to May 4, but I am committed to praying each day as fervently as I am able for the hearts of the people to turn toward the Lord. History is being written right now, and there’s no time to waste.