Pray for America - is it a Theme or a Vision? It is one thing to mobilize around an annual theme, but Pray for America is more than that. It is a commitment that requires action to ultimately fulfill a vision that every county in America will unite in prayer, every single day, for our nation.
As you know, the National Day of Prayer (NDP) Task Force is busily preparing for the 63rd Annual Observance on May 1, 2014. To mobilize prayer across our country for this vital solemn assembly, we will design and distribute a new theme and verse along with resources such as posters, prayer guides, promotional tools and more. However, a big change has occurred. The theme for this year, Pray for America, will not go into the archive vault, sealed and labeled as "a great year of prayer". Rather, the NDP Task Force is now supporting two annual efforts: 1) Pray for America and 2) the National Day of Prayer. That means the Commit2Pray.com website will continue as a tool to mobilize prayer throughout the year. You will also have resources to help you Pray for America that will not have dates on them so you can use them any time to maintain momentum. So, what you can expect to see this October will be the release of the new 2014 theme art and resources that will be offered alongside the new annual Pray for America resources.
The prayer movement is not seasonal. Rather it is a daily disciple - a blessing to God - and the National Day of Prayer Task Force is committed to this cause. We are prayerful that this new strategy will enable us to better support your annual prayer mobilization efforts.
Moving forward you will find that many of our weekly updates, national prayer calls, prayer alerts and even special events (like the Bus Rally Tour and Prayer Summits) will be found under the Pray for America website, www.Commit2Pray.com - But don't worry, there will be a fixed link to this page on the National Day of Prayer website as well.
May God bless you as we Pray for America!
America was founded by people who believed that God was their rock of safety. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side.” - President Ronald Reagan, January 25, 1984[hr]
All 50 Governors and the President of the United States proclaimed the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer as millions of Americans gathered from coast to coast in solemn assembly. It was the single, largest mobilized effort to prayer in the history of our nation with more than 42,000 events taking place at courthouse steps, parks, offices, government buildings, churches and homes symbolizing a single prayer – one voice – one cry – for such a time as this. It was, perhaps, the fulfillment of the vision of President John Adams, who wrote on June 17, 1775, "We have appointed a Continental fast. Millions will be upon their knees at once before their great Creator, imploring his forgiveness and blessing; his smiles on American councils and arms."
Stadiums were filled from Pennsylvania to Minnesota with shouts of prayer and adoration. Parades, motorcycle rallies, hot air balloon launches and more were planned in celebration. In Washington D.C., standing room only events with extended lines throughout the duration of the programs gave transparency to the move of the Holy Spirit to unite the church for what appears to be the sparking embers of a global revival. At the precipice of this National Day of Prayer, many within the church had been praying for just such an awakening and the results may have historic impact of immeasurable proportions. Revive us again was the popular theme of the season as millions united in prayer. It was Charles Spurgeon, who in1866 said, “the word "revive" wears its meaning upon its forehead; it is from the Latin, and may be interpreted thus—to live again, to receive again a life which has almost expired; to rekindle into a flame the vital spark which was nearly extinguished. A true revival is to be looked for in the church of God. Only in the river of gracious life can the pearl of revival be found.”
Revival is not new – God has always intervened trying to get us out of our stagnation and apathy. The Old Testament is a history of revival. In fact, one scholar indicated 7 major revival periods with over 16 clear cultural moves of God during that time. As seasons of complacency would overwhelm the nations in sorrow with a dramatic fall from the graces of God, there would be a spark within a few, driven by His very hand that would lead to national repentance as evidenced in Ezekiel 33:11 or Joel chapter 1, where he declares that the only hope is for a nation to “declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God and cry out to Him.”
Following the church from the 14th century throughout modern times, we can document 54 revivals according to many theological sources. In the United States we have seen 3 great times of revival including the 1857 Fulton Street Revival led by a relatively unknown man by the name of Jeremiah Lanphier. What started out as a gathering of 5 people for the state of our nation turned into a movement of over one million men and women turning back to God in bold exclamation of faith. 50,000 people gave their lives to the Lord and this time is credited for a significant drop in crime and a rebuilding of the broken homes that permeated New York City at a time of high unemployment and national insecurity.
The evidence that God is calling his people to revival are overwhelming and as E.M. Bounds stated in his powerful book, The Weapon of Prayer, “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 individuals 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.”
The formula is written for us clearly in II Chronicles 7:14 and God’s people are responding by the masses. He has called his church to:
- Return to Him with humility
- Pray unceasingly
- Seek His face unconditionally
- Turn from our wicked ways
- Live in unity
- Persevere until His return
Many will look to the headlines to see if there is instant change in America as a result of this massive public outcry and what we must remember is that God will respond in His timing. Our prayers will not go unanswered. Like the disciples who waited 50 days for the promise of Christ to be fulfilled on Pentecost, we must be patient and remain mobilized and confident that the prayers of His people are powerful and effective and generations not yet born will praise the Lord, Psalm 102:18.
May God bless America once more!
John Bornschein, Vice Chairman
As you make plans for the National Day of Prayer, keep in mind there are numerous ways to get involved. It is amazing how fast a day will pass, so try participating in one or more of the following:
LIVE WEBCAST, FRC Men's Prayer Time - On Wednesday, May 1, a prayer gathering of ministry, business and congressional leaders will take place in Washington D.C. and be broadcast LIVE via webcast from the Family Research Building. Speakers include Pastor Greg Laurie, Dr. Kenyn Cureton, Dr. James Dobson, John Bornschein and many others. CLICK HERE for more
Find an Event - Thousands of prayer gatherings are taking place across the United States on this 62nd annual National Day of Prayer. Chances are, there is an event right near you. To find out, click here and search by city, state and zip. Be sure to make sure the mile radius is set correctly or it may limit your search too much. Start with state and see where the Lord leads you. CLICK HERE for more
Watch the National Observance LIVE - Join Pastor Greg Laurie, Dr. James and Shirley Dobson, Congressman Robert Aderholt, Mrs. Vonette Bright, Mr. Pat Boone, Congressman Frank Wolf, Wintley Phipps, Chaplain Barry Black, The Annie Moses Band, Dr. Dick Eastman, Mr. David Butts, Mr. John Bornschein, and more LIVE from Washington D.C. - Thursday, May 2, 2013. This WEBCAST will be from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon ET, broadcasting LIVE from the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill. The National Day of Prayer Task Force has partnered, once again, with GOD TV to broadcast this special event, which will be available to millions of viewers in more than 200 countries around the world. The program will also be broadcast on DirecTV channel 365 and streamed LIVE on this website. Look for re-broadcast times. CLICK HERE for more
Make a Commitment to Pray for America - If you don’t know how to pray or maybe you want to learn more about prayer, we suggest several tools to get you started:
Share Your Thoughts on Prayer With Others - We have a prayer community of tens of thousands right online. Since you most likely have a Facebook account, be sure to visit our National Day of Prayer Facebook community and write a short prayer for America – for your community, family, or even your friends. Then invite others to join with you in prayer. CLICK HERE for more
- Listen to the OneCry Prayer Summit online and on the Radio - On the National Day of Prayer, OneCry will be live on hundreds of radio stations across the nation and around the world, uniting believers in prayer for revival. Listen live from your home, car, mobile device, or online at www.OneCry.com. We will be joined by Francis Chan, Matthew West, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Nick Hall, U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, and many others. Be sure to join us from 8:00-10:00 p.m. Eastern on May 2nd. Text NDOP to 59769 to get a reminder on the day of the radio summit.
National Prayer Call - The National Day of Prayer will conclude with a National Prayer Call from 10:00 – 11:30 Eastern on May 2nd. A number of special guests will lead us in prayer and you will have an opportunity to join in a chorus of prayer as well. To participate, simply call 712-432-0075, and enter the PIN: 4961322#[hr]
So What’s Next?
The National Day of Prayer is a catalyst for the prayer movement. It doesn’t end on the first Thursday of May. Rather, it only begins! Make the commitment to pray and be sure to check back with us regularly for new resources, exciting events and great opportunities that are sure to help you grow in your prayer journey.
Starting, after Memorial Day, the National Day of Prayer is launching a national bus tour, so look for details coming soon on Commit2Pray.com – this will include a 5K Run in Camden County, NJ on the 4th of July. Then, this October, be sure to tune in to the first global PrayerCast featuring the foremost teachers on prayer, LIVE. So mark your calendars for October 18-19 now.
Our goal through prayer must be to know God better, to experience the fullness of relationship with Him. If we are to model ourselves after Christ, we must be willing to give ourselves to prayer and fasting.
In his book, Prayer on Fire, Fred Hartley describes prayer as, “What we do. It is our initiative to meet God, whether we are asking for favors, singing in celebration, or crying out in distress. Regardless of what shape or size it comes in, prayer is our effort to engage God.” It can take many forms, including worship, confession, thanksgiving, praise, petition, waiting (silent listening), and warfare. And, the power of our relationship with God matures as we experience concentrated, prayerful devotion to others and their wellbeing. It is known as Intercessory Prayer when we spend focused time petitioning the Father for the needs of others. It may not come as a surprise to you, but the concepts of Intercession is mentioned more than 80 times in Scripture. The Hebrew word for “intercession” is paga, which means “to light upon.” The Greek equivalent, entygchano, refers to conversation with a king that involves supplication and intercession on behalf of another person. And, one of my favorites is the Greek word paracletos, which, when translated, refers to “one who pleads another’s cause before a judge” and is most closely linked to the idea of intercession as we understand it today.
Hebrews 9:15 states that “Christ is the mediator of a new covenant” and is seeking those who will intercede for others—those willing to stand in the gap. In Genesis 18:22–23, we read that Abraham stood before the Lord to intercede for Sodom. But the Masoretic Text says that the Lord stood before Abraham and asked him to intercede. According to tradition, servants stood in the presence of kings—not the other way around—so English translations of this passage often show Abraham standing before the Lord. This translation may be culturally accurate, but it prevents us from seeing the intercessory heart of our God. He is the One who stands in the gap, petitioning for mercy on behalf of humankind, despite our sin. In a sense, God is petitioning Himself on our behalf. The ultimate example of this is Jesus, who stood before God as our Intercessor when He gave Himself for us on the cross.
God also stood in the gap to intercede for the Ninevites. He commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and teach those lost men and women the truth so that they could be saved from God’s judgment (Jonah 1:1–2). He wanted Jonah to be selfless and intercede for those who did not deserve it. God’s heart always seeks to intercede for us.
In the same way, we are to be imitators of the Divine Mediator. Ephesians 5:1–2 says, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” As children of the living God, we must have God’s heart—a heart of mercy and perseverance. We have been given the power of the Holy Spirit so that we can cry out to Him in intercession for others: “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’” (Rom 8:15). In Greek, Christ refers to the Father as “the sending me Father” that He might intercede on behalf of those who were doomed to perish.
Moses, Elijah, Samuel, and Nehemiah all interceded on behalf of Israel, and God heard them. One of the greatest examples of intercession took place when Moses stood before God on behalf of Israel. In Exodus 32:10, God said, “Leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them [the Israelites] and that I may destroy them.” But Moses did not give up. And because God had a relationship with Moses, He allowed Moses to state the case on behalf of the people. In Exodus 32:14, we read that “the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.”
The account doesn’t end there. Later, “Moses went back to the Lord and said, ‘Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written’” (Exod 32:31–32). What a model of intercession! Moses was willing to lose his eternal inheritance on behalf of his people. He was willing to die for them, despite their transgressions. King David referred to this event later in Psalm 106:23: "So [God] said he would destroy them—had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.” Like the Israelites, we deserve to die for our sin. But just as Moses interceded for them, so has Christ interceded for us.
Over and over again, God Himself seeks those who are willing to put themselves on the line on behalf of others, those who are willing to walk through the fire if needed. Isaiah 59:16 states, “He [the Lord] saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene.” Similarly, Ezekiel 22:30 shows the Lord seeking an intercessor: “I looked for someone among them [the Israelites] who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”
Intercessory prayer is more than simply praying a few words on behalf of someone and then moving on to other requests, never praying for that person or concern again. Intercession is pouring out our hearts for others, taking on the burden of those who are going through a trial.
[typography font="Cantarell" size="24" size_format="px"]Practicing Persistence[/typography]
First Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing.” Christ gave us some great examples of this. As He was teaching His disciples to pray, He gave the following illustration:
Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him”; and he will answer from within and say, “Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you anything”? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Luke 11:5–9, nkjv, emphasis added).
Sometime later, Jesus told His disciples the following parable:
“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:2–8, emphasis added)
In Matthew 15:21–28, a Canaanite woman who pleaded with Jesus on behalf of her daughter exemplified this kind of intercession. After Jesus had begun to turn away from her after her first cry because she was not an Israelite, she persisted, kneeling before Him and saying, “Lord, help me!” (Matt 15:25). When Jesus responded by stating, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs,” she did not give up, but said “Yes it is, Lord … even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table” (Matt 15:26–27). And her persistence paid off; Matthew 15:28 records, “Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour” (Matt 15:21–28).
These passages demonstrate the perseverance of those who interceded for others. Those who carried the burden of intercession did not give up. They petitioned with great passion and expectation for results. They had faith and were willing to go the distance.
If you are praying for an issue in your life, do you just say one prayer and then move on without giving it another thought? I doubt it. Your burdens are very real to you. You want answers. You want results. So you are passionate about seeking resolution. But E.M. Bounds notes that impatience is often a cause of unanswered prayer. He states, “I think Christians fail so often to get answers to their prayers because they do not wait long enough on God. They just drop down and say a few words, and then jump up and forget it and expect God to answer them. Such praying always reminds me of the small boy ringing his neighbor’s door-bell, and then running away as fast as he can go.”
When I heard that a brother in Christ with three small children at home had just been laid off from his job, I knew he was praying as he had never prayed before. He must have felt scared, vulnerable, and weak. He was right where God needed him to be—dependent on Him for answers. When we are truly broken, God can reveal Himself and do what we could never do on our own. The problem is that when we get what we want, we often forget to give Him the glory for the answer—just like the people who did not return to thank Jesus after He had healed them.
[typography font="Cantarell" size="24" size_format="px"]Aligning Our Requests to God’s Will[/typography]
My wife and I have five children. With three girls and two boys, I spend a lot of time in prayer. In addition to keeping our lives busy, they keep me in humble petition constantly. My wife has also been battling cancer for 16 years. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1997, but it wasn’t identified until it had spread beyond the thyroid and into her blood. The cancer metastasized into forms of blood cancer and was also found in her lungs and cervix. The outcome looked hopeless. During that time, I began praying as I had never prayed before.
Sadly, it is often only when tragedy strikes that we turn to the one who has been knocking on the door of our hearts the whole time. To this day, our family is still praying for my wife’s healing and waiting for God to answer, but we have never given up hope. We also recognize that my wife is in a no-lose situation: either I get to keep her and spend the rest of my life on earth with her, or she gets to start eternity with the Father earlier than I will. My prayers began to change as I started spending more time with God.
We often do not receive what we want because we do not ask; and when we ask, far too often we ask outside of God’s will (Jas 4:2–3). And so we need to learn how to pray according to God’s will. What does He want in every difficult situation? The only way to find out is to spend time with Him.
My intercession for my wife changed from just seeking her physical healing to asking God for His help to raise children who will bring honor to Him—children who will pass on a legacy of faith and be a light to the many generations to come. Now my desire is that the Lord would enable my wife and me to set a new standard for our family heritage. We did not inherit a legacy of faith from our families, but I want more than ever to pass a baton to our five children that will become a memorial, standing stone for them and their children (Deut 6; Psa 78).
Our family has matured in our relationship with the Lord through this battle with cancer, and for that I am grateful. The Scriptures remind us that we will experience hardships (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; 2 Tim 2:3; 4:5; Heb 11:12:7), but does that mean God turns a deaf ear to our petitions? Absolutely not! He often allows us to go through trials to refine our faith and bring us closer to Him.
If you are praying for a neighbor, a friend, a child, or even a stranger, the Holy Spirit will guide you in your intercession to focus on the areas that really need His intervention. Sometimes the need is crystal clear, but often there are other deep-rooted issues that need to be addressed by the great physician—God. We often focus on the symptoms and not on the issue causing the pain. This is where God does His greatest work in both the person praying and the individual being prayed for. When Moses prayed for Israel, I believe that God was working on him as much as He was working on Israel.
[typography font="Cantarell" size="24" size_format="px"]He Hears[/typography]
At the National Day of Prayer Task Force, we truly believe that God hears the prayers of His people and stays His holy hand of judgment on our nation, even if it means diminished punishment in contrast to what we know we deserve. We believe the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
God hears His people and responds. But here is the kicker: you may not see the answer to your prayers in your lifetime. Abraham waited 20 years (until he was around 100 years old) for the birth of Isaac in fulfillment of God’s promise. The prophets declared the coming of the Messiah, but they did not see Him with their own eyes before they died.
Remember, God is not limited to space and time. He hears our every word and knows the right time to respond. But we have to be diligent in the battle as we pray on the front lines. As James states, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (Jas 5:16).
The upcoming 62nd annual National Day of Prayer, May 2, 2013, will have profound significance for our country. We have an unprecedented opportunity to see the Lord’s healing and renewing power made manifest as we call on citizens to humbly come before His throne. To echo the words of Mary Ball Washington, mother of our nation’s first president, we believe it is time to “Remember that God is our only sure trust.”
Our theme for 2013 is Pray for America, emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to place their faith in the unfailing character of their Creator, who is sovereign over all governments, authorities, and men. To further highlight our theme, we’ve chosen Matthew 12:21 as our Scripture for this year: “In His name the nations will put their hope.”
For the May 2nd observances, Pastor Greg Laurie, the 2013 Honorary Chairman, has written a special prayer to be simultaneously read throughout the nation at noon (EDT). This recitation will create a huge wave of prayer, flowing from one coast to the other, illustrating the unity of God’s people and acknowledging His dominion over the circumstances facing us. Millions of people gathered, last year, to pray at thousands of events facilitated by our volunteer coordinators and people just like you! We hope you’ll join with our staff again this year as we seek to bring more communities than ever before together in prayer. As a way of assisting you, we have assembled a variety of resources that describe how to organize and publicize citywide prayer breakfasts, worship services, and rallies. These materials also present creative ideas geared toward helping individuals and families to establish meaningful devotional times. If you have any questions after reviewing these items, please don’t hesitate to contact our NDP staff at (800) 444-8828. We would count it a privilege to lend a hand in whatever manner we are able.
At this crucial time for our nation, we can do nothing more important than pray. Thank you in advance for making this spiritual discipline a personal priority and for standing with us as we encourage others to incorporate prayer in their lives. The Lord has graciously anointed our efforts, empowering them to touch and change many hearts and lives. We look forward to seeing His hand move across our land in exciting ways this May in response to our petitions! In closing, we ask that you prayerfully consider becoming a volunteer in your church or community to lead a National Day of Prayer gathering. May the Lord’s peace fill your heart as you rest in Him throughout the days ahead.
Then almost two years later the United States witnessed first hand the horror of terrorism and the barbarism of extremists willing to take any and all life. America the great, an impervious super-power with military might, scientific knowledge and society-altering advancements had been beaten – at least for a moment. Yet as a result, prayer became commonplace with faith demonstrated in the public square as a tolerated and even accepted practice. As a people under a common flag, we were hurt and scared. But confidence that God would grant us victory over our enemies reaffirmed our bold expressions of alliance with the Almighty. Christians were coming out of the woodwork with little opposition. We were united, focused and diligent – welcomed attributes in a time of uncertainty.
One would naturally think that after countless trials, even as recently as the beginnings of the great recession, we would learn to be consistent. But alas, back to old habits, back to self–aggrandizement. Thus, the only consistency in our history, not only as Americans, but as Christians, is our willingness to concede and close the book on God when the urgency of the moment has passed.
The trials in our nation today are very real. Unfortunately a hopeful decrease in the unemployment numbers will not resolve the hardened hearts of God’s people. God will not be content being treated as a compartmentalized apparition in the retirement home (or basement) of our priorities. He will not sit by hopeful that one day we will pick-up the phone and call or stop by for an annual visitation when our actions have clearly stated our unspoken perspectives. God is the Almighty, the I AM. The heavens declare his majesty and if we will not praise Him, the rocks will.
God should be in all our decisions and fill our minds as we arise in the morning and close the day in the evening. We should long to be in His presence just as our lungs grasp for air. King David said, “Oh God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” Psalm 63:1. Many blessings are released through this relationship and God wants to reveal the deep things of His nature to us. In this fellowship, nothing will be impossible for you. In fact, the flaming arrows of our adversary are extinguished against the walls of His protection. Remember, the trials will come and the Scriptures are clear on this:
- “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22
- “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship…” II Timothy 4:5a
- “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b
The Lord knew we would experience difficulties in this world and so He gave us His armor (Eph. 6:10-18). However, He also built us a fortress in Himself.
“I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2
We are not alone in our struggle. He is our stronghold and our rock! This is the place where we stand firm against tribulation. It is offered freely to those He marks as His own by the blood of Jesus Christ. However, one does not find this solace from adversity when the keys to the door are lost in a shuffled pile of to-do lists. Rather, God must be invited daily into our lives. Paul reminds us, in Philippians 3:10, “For my determined purpose] is that I may know Him that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly…”
There is an incredible connection that happens between believers and the heavenly Father during prayer. It is something that intersects the physical with the spiritual and goes far beyond human comprehension. The ability for humankind to speak in the throne room of the Almighty is awesome in and of itself. But the fact that God, in all of His splendor, will stop and listen intently to our every word, as if nothing could be more important to Him at that moment, is truly breathtaking. God desires relationship with us, and our dialogue with Him through prayer is where He reveals the deepest characteristics of His nature.
I have, recently, been reading “Sun Stand Still” by Steven Furtick and I was empowered to pray as I had never prayed before. Do we understand the heart and will of God so personally that we would be so bold to pray in command to the elements or even the sun to do the rationally unthinkable? Joshua prayed very clearly. He said, “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon” Joshua 10:12. Then God answered with action. “The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since…Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel! (verses 13-14). Steven then added the following commentary, “The skeptic in me has all kinds of questions. Did God actually stop the earth on it axis? Did he create some kind of substitute sun to extend daylight? In other words, what really went down here? I don’t know the answers to those questions. There are other books written by much smarter people that address the practical implications of this event. But my faith is pretty simple. I choose to believe that the same God who intervened to bring His Son back to life intervened on this day in history to help his people. He chose to answer Joshua’s outrageous prayer. He did what only He could do. And He did it in a way that His people would never forget – in a way that we’re still marveling at to this day.”
God is still a God of miracles! He is still doing the outrageous across the world. We just have to open our eyes to see it and believe that our prayers can change the course of history. You can move mountains in your prayer! May this year you find such fulfillment in your exchange with the Almighty that you are never content with mediocrity in your fellowship ever again. Dare to pray the impossible prayer and stand boldly on the front lines for the King of Kings. Grab the plow and never look back!
Happy New Year! Hard to believe it is 2013. It is quite amazing when you think about it that another year is in the history books and you contributed to the greater story. That’s right – every action you make has an outcome that impacts potentially generations to come. It is not our story but HIS story we are blessed to be a part of – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). I am especially blessed to know that God directs our path and every day is purposeful and strategic despite myself. He takes my mistakes and my successes, my aspirations and my trials and each are building materials in the Architects hands: “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
It has certainly been a year of trials and tribulation both at home and abroad. The economic and spiritual decay of our nation has impacted every home and has left non unscathed. Yet we find our hope in God and it is through Him that we stand boldly at front line seeing victory and not defeat. You have preserved in prayer – day and night you have given the enemy no joy in your countless words of petition on behalf of our nation, accompanied with powerful expressions of praise that are a sweet aroma to the nostrils of the Most High. Many of you have taken blow after blow yet you have demonstrated unwavering faith and determination to hold the standard high. In your presence I am often reminded of the words of Theodore Roosevelt who said:
It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
This year, the theme for the National Day of Prayer is “Pray for America” and what a powerful statement to make – a beacon to this lost and wavering society that we must return to the God of our fathers in humble intercession. Abraham Lincoln said it best, “I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.”For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of that which He has given us, and it is to advance His will. May we always remember that it is not our will but thy will be done.
The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways... that all peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.