Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why is the National Day of Prayer important?

George Washington often called the nation to public prayer and thanksgiving, and many presidents since him have followed his lead.
In fact, President Washington once wrote a letter to the Hebrew congregation in Savannah praying for God's blessings. Here is part of what he said:
"May the same wonder-working Deity, who long since delivered the Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors, planted them in a promised land, whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation, still continue to water them with the dews of heaven and make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah." (Michael Novak and Jana Novak, Washington's God. New York: Basic Books, 2006, p. 240.)
As Americans, it is important that we have the religious freedom to gather and pray as we choose, without any coercion to do so on those who do not wish to pray, and without any suppression against doing so by those who do wish to pray.
As people of faith, it is important that we pray for our nation, because God's word tells us to do so. We read in 1 Timothy 2:1-2: "First of all, then I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority..." Prayer is our opportunity to connect with the power of God Himself. There are so many needs in our nation that can only be met by God-- the need for peace, purpose, salvation and healing from both moral and spiritual sickness.
For several years, Rincon United Methodist Church, Rincon Church of God and First Baptist Church of Rincon have jointly sponsored a National Day of Prayer breakfast. This year it will be at the Rincon Church of God family life center at 6:00 a.m. on May 1. Each year, we have a government leader speak, and then we gather in small groups to pray. This year we chose a leader in law enforcement, recognizing how important it is that we pray for the police and sheriff deputies. Our speaker is Richard Bush, chief deputy sheriff of Effingham County.

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