By David Barton
On July 2, 1776, Congress voted to approve a complete separation from Great Britain. Two days afterwards – July 4th – the early draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed, albeit by only two individuals at that time: John Hancock, President of Congress, and Charles Thompson, Secretary of Congress. Four days later, on July 8, members of Congress took that document and read it aloud from the steps of Independence Hall, proclaiming it to the city of Philadelphia, after which the Liberty Bell was rung. The inscription around the top of that bell, Leviticus 25:10, was most appropriate for the occasion: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof.”
To see the turmoil in other nations, their struggles and multiple revolutions, and yet to see the stability and blessings that we have here in America, we may ask how has this been achieved? What was the basis of American Independence? John Adams said “The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.” Perhaps the clearest identification of the spirit of the American Revolution was given by John Adams in a letter to Abigail the day after Congress approved the Declaration. He wrote her two letters on that day; the first was short and concise, jubilant that the Declaration had been approved. The second was much longer and more pensive, giving serious consideration to what had been done that day. Adams cautiously noted: “This day will be the most memorable epic in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.”
It is amazing that on the very day they approved the Declaration, Adams was already foreseeing that their actions would be celebrated by future generations. Adams contemplated whether it would be proper to hold such celebrations, but then concluded that the day should be commemorated – but in a particular manner and with a specific spirit. As he told Abigail: “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
John Adams believed that the Fourth of July should become a religious holiday – a day when we remembered God's hand in deliverance and a day of religious activities when we committed ourselves to Him in “solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” Such was the spirit of the American Revolution as seen through the eyes of those who led it, evidenced even further in the words of John Quincy Adams, one who was deeply involved in the activities of the Revolution.
According to John Quincy Adams, Christmas and the Fourth of July were intrinsically connected. On the Fourth of July, the Founders simply took the precepts of Christ, who came into the world through His birth (Christmas) and incorporated those principles into civil government.
Have you ever considered what it meant for those 56 men – an eclectic group of ministers, businessmen, teachers, university professors, sailors, captains, farmers – to sign the Declaration of Independence? This was a contract that began with the reasons for the separation from Great Britain and closed in the final paragraph stating “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” These men took this pledge seriously and it cost them greatly. When Samuel Adams signed the Declaration, he said, “We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”
The spiritual emphasis manifested so often by the Americans during the Revolution caused one Crown-appointed British governor to write to Great Britain complaining that: “If you ask an American who is his master, he'll tell you he has none. And he has no governor but Jesus Christ.” This was boldly declared with not one but sixteen Congressional proclamations for national days of prayer and fasting throughout the Revolution.
Preserving American liberty depends first upon our understanding the foundations on which this great country was built and then preserving the principles on which it was founded. Let's not let the purpose for which we were established be forgotten. The Founding Fathers have passed us a torch; let's not let it go out.
On Sunday, June 30, 2013, over one and a half million people in thousands of churches in all 50 states will be on their knees, praying for our nation. To join this movement, visit Call2Fall.com and click “I’m in.” When you do, you will see your first name and your state pop up on the front page of the website.
In 2009, I was challenged by an elderly lady to use my influence to call our nation to “our knees” in prayer (see 2 Chron.7:14). That same day I read about the Continental Congress’ call to prayer in 1775 that resulted in 3 million colonial Americans gathering on their knees in repentant prayer for our troubled, fledgling country. That was the beginning of Call2Fall.
Watch our short video about the first prayer in the Continental Congress. Many of our Founding Fathers were moved to tears and to greater dependence on God as they faced grave uncertainty on the eve of war with Great Britain. May we, too, humble ourselves in prayer before God in this pivotal year for our nation!
Forward the video to your pastor and ask if your church could set aside a few minutes in your June 30 worship services to pray for our nation. There are many church-friendly tools and resources like this brief video that can help your church have a meaningful Call2Fall. By signing up, your church will be listed on the map to let believers in your community will know your church will take part.
In fact, we are partnering with the National Day of Prayer, the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Intercessors for America and many others who are collaborating to call America to pray. Call2Fall is uniquely the church-based, worship-service focused part of the effort. We are on Facebook and Twitter, so a couple of ways you can help is by posting a message on your Facebook page or Tweet about the Call2Fall. So help us spread the word.
Join us in declaring our national “dependence” upon the Lord on Sunday, June 30th. If enough Americans will unite in humble, repentant prayer, I am trusting that God will hear our prayers, forgive our sin, and heal our land (2 Chron.7:14).
President, Family Research Council
Your prayers are greatly needed! As you know, the Pray for America bus tour is currently making its way across Maine and then headed back south toward Philadelphia. We have a team that leaves tomorrow to assist the group on board and to relieve a couple of those who have been serving there for sometime. Those preparing to depart are experiencing a great trial at this very moment. A very large forest fire is sweeping across the northern area of Colorado Springs, where the National Day of Prayer Task Force is headquartered. The fire is currently consuming more than 8,000 acres and 60 or more homes have already burned to the ground. Their home is directly in the path of the fire. They have been forced into mandatory evacuation – so they grabbed vital items and have been living out of a suitcase. But, after our prayer time a moment ago, they have agreed that going out to the bus to pray was something that had to do. So, as they board the plane tomorrow, they will have no way of knowing if their home is still standing. This reminds us of what the Scriptures say in Matthew 19:29-30: “And everyone who has left houses…or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life”. Please keep Larry and Cindy in your prayers as they leave it all behind to head on the road with the Pray for America Bus. Also, please be in prayer for the First Responders and the more than 6,000 people who have been evacuated and awaiting news of their homes.
The 62nd annual National Day of Prayer was perhaps the greatest mobilization of the church in America since the Jesus Movement or the Fulton Street Revival of 1857. In Washington D.C., the National Observance launched a wave of prayer that that spread to over 42,000 unique gatherings from coast to coast and a message of revival and personal commitment was delivered passionately. Jeremiah 1:9 and Isaiah 51:16 says that the Lord will put His words to the mouth of those He has called to speak truth into this culture of moral relativism and indeed, He did just that. Not one but four keynote speakers at events across Capital Hill spoke boldly of sacrifice that was needed, starting in their own lives, to take a stand for what they believed. They found themselves at a crossroads where their action was to be symbolic of the level of their faith. It meant personal sacrifice for the cause of Christ and they did so without looking back or wavering. Their stories will be forever shared as a testament to personal transformation and the expectation that God has for each of us. Keep reading and I will summarize them for you to the best of my ability. Finding the words to properly express the hearts of these men will be challenging, but I trust you will understand as I attempt to capture the essence of the underlining theme.
In his essay, “Christian Behavior,” C.S. Lewis writes, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” The sacrifice of the temporal for the eternal is what separates the wheat from the chaff (Matthew 3). There is no room for lukewarm believers in God’s kingdom.
Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” - Rev 3:16
God wants our very best – He wants our all. If we do not stand up for truth, who will? If you do not hold the line, who will? In his book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan illustrates what this means: "When I was in high school, I seriously considered joining the Marines; this was when they first came out with the commercials for “the few, the proud, the Marines.” But you know what? I didn’t bother to ask if they would modify the rules for me so I could run less, and maybe also do fewer push-ups. That would’ve been pointless and stupid, and I knew it. Everyone knows that if you sign up for the Marines, you have to do whatever they tell you. They own you. Somehow this realization does not cross over to our thinking about the Christian life. Jesus didn’t say that if you wanted to follow Him you could do it in a lukewarm manner. He said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”
Either you’re going to stand boldly for the Lord or you’re not. Christ was confronted with people who were too comfortable with their lives, and He challenged them. He told a son to leave his family and follow Him (Matt 8:21–22). He told a wealthy man that to follow Him would mean total sacrifice, stressing that even the Son of Man didn’t have a pillow to lay His head upon (Matt 8:18–20). He told another that he should sell all that he had and give to the poor (Matt 19:16–30). In each case, these eager men were cut to their heart because they wanted to be good but not great. They weren’t willing to go all the way. But Jesus promises a reward for full commitment: “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matt 19:29–30). He is not asking us to ditch our families in this statement. Rather, he is challenging us to look inward to truly examine and evaluate our priorities. Is there something that we hold in higher regard or value than our love for God? What you find in your heart may hurt a little when you consider the true cost of following Christ.
It truly seems that the world is restless and only His people, in humble petition for revival will make a difference. Indeed, as a pastor, I am witnessing a vast departure from the spiritual starvation that has left people hungering for the rich, deep truth of the Scripture – a return to the ideas of what it means to take up the cross and follow Him. Resonating with the powerful words of Francis Chan and David Platt, there is a transformation in the culture with masses stepping out of the lukewarm waters of diluted, self-help Christianity into a reverent return to solemn assembly and sacrificial devotion to the King of Kings. The revelation of our own depravity from years of lip-service has finally brought to light the words of Isaiah 29:13 and Matthew 15:8 that we have come to him with honoring lips but our heart has been far from Him. There is no more room for secular Christianity.
A breed of Christian is greatly needed who will seek tirelessly after God, who will give Him no rest, day and night, until He hearken to their cry. The times demand praying men and women who are all athirst for God’s glory, who are broad and unselfish in their desires, quenchless for God, who seek Him late and early, and who will give themselves no rest until the whole earth be filled with His glory. - E.M. Bounds, The Weapon of Prayer
To me the great cultural chasm is growing wider between those who claim their devotion to Christ and those who are choosing the path of the world. It is time for men and women to decide to whom they will give their allegiance and indeed the time grows short. The hour of decision is upon us as a society and it is one of eternal consequence. When the heat turns up in this society—and it most certainly will—are you going to be willing to walk into the furnace for your faith or step into the lion’s den? Will you be willing to give it all for Him? The Holy Spirit will give you strength when that moment comes (Acts 7:54–60), but you must take the first step. I tell people to start getting used to the lion’s breath when they take a stand for the Lord because the enemy is a roaring lion according to the Scriptures (1 Peter 5:8). But, take heart for we face a defeated enemy so let him roar all he wants to. After a while his growl will weaken and you will no longer be intimidated by a losing foe. Adrian Rogers said, “Satan’s real war is not with you … it is with God. Evil persons have always known that if they cannot harm someone directly, harm someone that they love and you’ve hurt them. Satan’s war is with God, but he has set his attack on you because God has set His affection on you.” Satan wants you in a constant state of fear because he wants you to begin to doubt God’s provision, God’s promises, and God’s love for you.
So, here is the black and white truth. You have now read content that leaves you with a decision to make and nothing is coincidental. You have now invested time into reading the words aligned before you. They will either convict your soul and reshape your prayer life, the way you spend your resources, the way you vote, the way you prioritize and the way you live, especially in bold declaration of truth. Or, you will tune them out and go about the busyness of your daily existence. You may suddenly feel pressed, even guilty, by the overwhelming feeling that God has burdened you with information that presents a seemingly daunting assignment that forces you to make immediate changes…and you weren’t ready for that. Well, let me paint a picture for you of the kind of warrior God uses in His army. At the 2013 National Observance, the following men stood up before crowds of people and took a stand for their faith – putting their action where their faith was.
Let’s begin with Craig Dance. Craig is the President of Champion Coach, a premier athlete transportation company. They specialize in moving professional and collegiate teams to their destinations. Name the team and chances are they have the contract. Well, Mr. Dance was given a lucrative contract to purchase, equip and wrap large tour buses to create a mobile studio for CBS Sports. It was a highlight for his company. However, with that contract, another opportunity came and it was to be the sole transportation provider for all of CBS Television. That meant his buses, utilized by the network, would be fully wrapped and outfitted for the network promotion and use. The president of CBS knew of Craig’s faith and days before it was Craig who was interviewed in the paper as being an owner of a Christian company with moral values. Well, Craig was convicted that he may be tested in this bold proclamation and indeed he was. CBS Television, despite a back and forth negotiation demanded that Champion Coach buses be wrapped with the fall lineup of shows, which included programming that was directly used for propaganda to promote alternative lifestyles to what he believed. But, Craig held steadfast knowing that it would mean he would lose the contract if he didn’t allow the wrap. He made several recommendations, they were denied and CBS pulled the contract. With it, however, went the CBS Sports contract as well. That meant Craig and his company were to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars over his moral conviction. He didn’t hesitate to stand his ground and lost both contracts. It looked like the company would have to park several buses and start scaling back. Craig continued to pray and God brought more business than the company could handle and truly, it was a Deuteronomy 28 revelation before their very eyes. But, Craig testifies that he had to take a stand despite the fear of losing his business. God blessed as a result.
Next it was Russell Branzell who took the stage. Russ is the President and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. He has a distinguished resume and includes his time as CEO of one of the largest Medical Groups in the United States. It was Russ who drove the chisel further into the crusted shell of our hearts by defining the addiction most men face… the drive for power. He had to confront the very hunger that most leaders crave for influence, respect, control, possessions and yes, power itself. It was this hidden root within most entrepreneurs that he recognized to be the source of his broken family life. He transparently opened his heart to us all about his long hours, personal commitment to success and the drive that pushed God into the to do list of good intentions and not into the category of personal relationship. He was so convicted by the realization of truth and God’s expectations of him that he sold his possessions, streamlined, prioritized time with God and family and as a result, changed careers, giving up the prestige, income and status that he was subconsciously driven by. Those things were his idols and if we are honest with ourselves, many of ours as well. Just as God withheld blessing to His people because of the hidden sin of Achan, when they went to take Ai (see Joshua 6-7), God revealed to Russ the very thing that was preventing him from being complete in Him and money was not the blessing he craved. It was the blessing of a Holy Father saying, “well done my good and faithful servant.” Well done, my son. Russ now enjoys a healthy family life, a restored marriage, a renewal of his personal health and satisfaction with his life that is in alignment to God’s will.
That evening, Steve Green, President of Hobby Lobby, stood boldly for his faith expressing that his companies would not compromise on Biblical directives with regard to life. They are in the midst of a heated discussion with officials over the mandate to businesses to provide contraceptives, which goes against their pro-life position. He said the result could cost them more than one million dollars each and every day, but there “is no price tag on life” as Steve Green boldly professed on a prayer call that evening. As the Charlotte Observer reported, Hobby Lobby maintains that some birth control products, such as the morning-after pill, are equivalent to abortion. The company has sued the government on religious freedom grounds. Hobby Lobby still potentially faces millions in fines for not following the mandate. With 13,000 employees and a proposed fine of $100 per employee per day, that would equate to $1.3 million in daily fines.
"I could never have imagined we’d be where we are." - Steve Green, Hobby Lobby Founded and privately held by the Green family, Hobby Lobby is committed to operate according to biblical, Christian principles. Although Green said he couldn’t discuss the lawsuit, he said he expects a long slog through the court system. “I just say there’s going to be an extensive court discussion and battle,” he said in response to an audience question. “In the meantime, all I know to ask for is prayers.” Our prayers continue to be with him and the companies under his leadership as they take a stand in the gap for all businesses, large and small, as they face mounting pressures to compromise their moral and faith-based convictions.
Finally, in the aftermath of a heart-felt message from Pastor Greg Laurie, Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer calling for revival across the land, it was Rear Admiral William D. Lee, who serves as the Deputy of Operations Policy and Capabilities for the U.S. Coast Guard, who, on stage, made a potentially career altering declaration. William Lee stood at the microphone and said that he had 10 minutes of carefully prepared remarks ready but decided to “speak from the heart” instead. He told the story of so many servicemen searching for reasons to live, and talked about one 24-year-old who had tried to commit suicide and failed. Despite the protocol, Lee said he felt strongly that he should give the soldier a Bible. “The lawyers tell me that if I do that, I’m crossing the line,” he told the crowd. “I’m so glad I’ve crossed that line so many times.” To a standing ovation, Admiral Lee promised not to back down from “my right under the Constitution to tell a young man that there is hope.” He went on to speak of the need for service men and women to stand boldly for faith, “as one general so aptly put it – they expect us to check our religion in at the door – don’t bring that here,” Rear Admiral William Lee told the captive audience. Leaders like myself are feeling the constraints of rules and regulations and guidance issued by lawyers that put us in a tighter and tighter box regarding our constitutional right to express our religious faith. - Rear Admiral William D. Lee He went on to convey that a battle in the courts was fast approaching and we needed to be in prayer. “Your armed forces, the sons and daughters of the men and women like you,” he said, “are being told to hide that light under a basket…Pray that we will be able to weather the storm that I am almost certain will come – that we will not be required to put aside our Constitutional rights,” he said. Right before our eyes, a man was putting his reputation and career on the line for his faith and it was five, yes five standing ovations that continued to reinforce to him that we would stand with him through thick and thin as he endures to fight the good fight on the front lines.
The messages were convicting but we must pray that the transforming spirit of God will go forward and lives be changed as a result of obedience by these men of deep, personal faith. If you or anyone you know would like to hear these messages now, then follow the links below to listen and share:
[typography font="Cantarell" size="24" size_format="px"]"Pray that we will be able to weather the storm that I am almost certain will come – that we will not be required to put aside our Constitutional rights." - Rear Admiral William D. Lee[/typography] [hr]
Every year, the National Day of Prayer Task Force coordinates several events on Capital Hill including the National Observance at the Cannon House Office Building. With speakers like Chuck Swindoll, Oliver North, Max Lucado, Beth Moore, and Franklin Graham, the expectations are always high and the response is overwhelming. More than one hundred thousand people tune in live, via video stream, for what is sure to be a prayer event highlight reel as representatives from each branch of government, prominent ministries, and businesses share encouraging and convicting messages with ambassadors, delegates, and individuals from all walks of life in the historic Caucus Room – and the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer observance did not disappoint.
The morning began promptly at 9:00 a.m. eastern with the presentation of the colors by the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard and the National Anthem by the Brass Quintet. Mrs. Shirley Dobson, Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, kicked off the momentous celebration with a warm greeting and introduction of both Rabbi Daniel Lapin and Rabbi Neal Surasky.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin took the podium first and blessed the occasion with eloquent words of personal evaluation as to how we view the exercise of prayer; “It is the entirety of the Bible that is the blueprint to goodness, decency, hope, optimism and faith. Prayer is not surrendering to the spasm of superstitious reflection, rather, prayer is asking God and supplicating to God.”
Rabbi Neal Surasky then put the Shofar to his lips and belted out what seemed to be the longest held note to echo throughout the halls of Congress in the history of our nation. At that moment, we knew the prayer event had begun.
...Our nation is under the care and providence of Almighty God and has confidence that He will guide the course of our nation..." - Father Jerome Magat
The line-up of speakers that followed were second to none with each building on the other and driving the message that prayer is the only hope for America. With the opening prayer from Father Magat, who stated that “our nation is under the care and providence of Almighty God and has confidence that He will guide the course of our nation”, to the powerful words of Barry Black, chaplain of the Senate, who urged people to stop praying for just themselves and to start praying for their leaders, even if they disagree with their politics. "Let us stop praying only for ourselves, adding that “Godliness is a national security issue." Indeed, the National Observance was not one to miss.
Judge David Gustafson, who represented the Judicial Branch, sought prayer for all those serving in this vital role, "Please pray that God will give us wisdom beyond our wisdom." Both Representative Robert Aderholt (AL) and Representative Frank Wolf (VA) took the stage and reminded the nation that there are still congressmen who pray and do so with great expectation that God will direct the affairs of the nation. Wolf then quoted de Tocqueville with these words, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers - and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce - and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution - and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.”
Pat Boone, an original member of the National Day of Prayer Task Force in 1988, reminded us that America's founding fathers embraced religious practice and Christianity. “Benjamin Franklin called for a daily sermon before Congress began deliberations. John Jay, a member of the Supreme Court, said that Christians were preferred for government positions.” He then quoted Proverbs 21:1 which says, "In the Lord’s hand the king's heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.” Then added these words, "Heaven is waiting for our decisions and our petitions."
...With God nothing is impossible and God can turn America around.” - Pastor Greg Laurie, 2013 Honorary Chairman
This led up to the message by the Honorary Chairman, Greg Laurie, who said, “With God nothing is impossible and God can turn America around.” After his powerful words of affirmation, hope and inspiration, he closed with the reading of the national prayer.
Finally, it was Rear Admiral William D. Lee who ended the 3-hour event with five, yes 5, standing ovations. He gave a desperate appeal for prayer asking all to lift up the armed forces at such a critical time in our nation’s history. “Pray that we will be able to weather the storm that I am almost certain will come – that we will not be required to put aside our Constitutional rights,” he said. General Jerry Boykin issued the following statement after hearing the passionate and courageous message; "Rear Admiral William Lee demonstrated real courage yesterday when he spoke at the National Day of Prayer event in the nation's capital. I have seen courage manifested in many ways, including the ultimate sacrifice of one's life for one's country, but this type of moral courage is becoming more and more rare...You want a real hero? Just look no further than Rear Admiral William D Lee.”
If you missed it, then listen now to the 2013 National Observance:
A great friend of our ministry, Joni Eareckson Tada (2011 Honorary Chairman and Founder of Joni and Friends), wants to encourage YOU to pray for our nation.
To learn more about Joni and Friends, and the incredible work they are doing, you can visit their website at http://www.joniandfriends.org
Our Host Dr. Kenyn Cureton, Vice President of Church Ministries at the Family Research Council.
- 10:00-10:15 - John Bornschein—Welcome / Introduction
- 10:15-10:20 - Dr. Kenyn Cureton – Opening Remarks
- 10:20-10:25 - Tony Perkins
- 10:25-10:40 - Mike Stout
- 10:40-11:00 - Pastor Steven Khoury
- 11:00-11:05 - John Bornschein - Intro Danny Cahill
- 11:05-11:30 - Danny Cahill
- 11:30-11:35 - Prayer Time (led by John Bornschein)
- 11:35-11:40 - Prayer: Nick Hall
- 11:40-11:55 - Group Prayer
- 11:55-12:00 - Dr. James Dobson - Close
Men's Prayer Time - National Day of Prayer Task Force
[typography font="Cantarell" size="16" size_format="px"]"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7[/typography] [hr]
PRAY - Check out the music video below...
We wrote the song Pray because these are anxious times. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on the edge of my seat, watching and waiting as tensions rise and markets fall. The 2012 election has left me acutely aware of the fact that we are a nation divided, fragile and in dyer need of true hope. From my television screen to my twitter feed, I’m confronted with a minute-by-minute timeline of the latest news from around the world. The awareness that we’re just one thumb tap away from another shocking headline can be stressful. What will come next? We wonder if North Korea will launch a nuclear missile, if another homemade bomb in a backpack will be detonated at a public gathering, or if the mild-mannered kid next door will carry out another mass murder.
Sometimes it’s not world news that leaves me anxious, but parts of my own little world that seem to be falling apart. The pressure of holding it all together is daunting when I get to thinking it’s on my own shoulders. Sometimes I find myself tossing my hands up in the air and asking in an exasperated tone, “What in the world is going on?”
In those moments I have to remind myself of what’s behind our personal life challenges and the world’s headlines, the fist of a dictator and the face of a politician, the cape of a hero and the mask of a villain. In every conflict, no matter where we live or which side we’re on, behind every struggle is what the Apostle Paul described in his letter to the Ephesians.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” - Ephesians 6:12
Paul doesn’t leave us to wonder how we should view our struggles or what actions we should take. He tells the Ephesians to stand firm on truth, righteousness, salvation and the word of God. He ends by making an earnest appeal that we see him make over and over again in his letters to Christian men and women. He teaches them, and us, to pray; and not just every so often or when we’re in distress, but to pray “at all times” in Ephesians 6:18. Again, in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, he writes that we should “pray without ceasing.”
These are indeed anxious times, and heaven and earth are at war. Every public headline and personal challenge is a reminder, as well as a call, not to lift our hands in despair, but rather to continue lifting our hands and voices in prayer.
Will you answer the call?
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[typography font="Cantarell" size="18" size_format="px"]And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt? - Matt. 14:29-31[/typography] [hr]
Greetings from the National Day of Prayer Task Force, we have been praying for you! Yes, you! If you are reading this message we have been praying for you. If you are one of the thousands of people that God has called to coordinate or attend a National Day of Prayer event on May 2, we have been praying for you. Our office has been in perpetual motion with phone calls, proclamations, reports and event postings in an effort to finalize all that needs to happen in the next two weeks. If you are planning a prayer event, we know that you are busy trying to promote and plan the final pieces. This last couple of weeks can be very stressful as prayer warriors across America battle to culminate and celebrate the year-round prayers lifted up on behalf of our nation. I pray that the following devotional encourages and energizes you as God equips and prepares us for the National Day of Prayer:
If you have ever had to put together a school play or musical, you know this is an incredible task. There are sets to build, costumes to sew, parts to assign, lighting, months of practice and dress rehearsals, before the curtain is raised for opening night. As the date for our school musical drew near, it seemed to the untrained eye that the choir would not be ready in time. But to our choir director, Karen, all was on track. Karen had been strongly encouraged by parents and administration to postpone the musical so that there could be more time to rehearse, but as the director, she calmly refused to postpone, insisting that she was confident in her scheduling.
Karen shared with me that the date was set so that the choir would know the words, know their parts, and know the songs well enough to get through the play as long as they kept their eyes on her. More practice might make them too self-confident and then they would not watch her for direction the night of the play. �
God, our Heavenly Conductor, has set the dates for every opportunity we are given to serve Him. Heaven eagerly awaits the chorus of prayers that will be lifted up on May 2nd. He has prepared us along the way for just the right day. We may think we are not ready; we are distracted by the winds of discouragement and waves of fear. We may even find ourselves begging for more time, more training, or more resources. Take courage! God always carries us to a specific place, for a specific service, fully equipped to do the job as long as we keep our eyes on Him.
Keep your eyes on Him and remember that He never takes His eyes off of you. If He called you to it, He will walk (on water) with you through it! To God be the Glory!