Warm greetings from the National Day of Prayer Task Force (NDP)! As we draw closer to this year’s National Day of Prayer on May 1, I want to take this opportunity to share the importance of your ongoing partnership in our efforts. Since 1952, when Congress established an annual day of prayer, millions of Americans have gathered each year in churches, synagogues, schools, parks, and other venues to intercede for our nation. Today we face extremely difficult times and daunting challenges, from economic turmoil to the threat of terrorism to moral confusion and decline. It behooves us, then, to once again honor the precedent established by Presidents and leaders throughout our history – that of proclaiming reliance on an Almighty God and calling citizens to come before Him on behalf of our nation.
All things are in our Heavenly Father’s hands, and we can come boldly before Him knowing that He has promised to hear the petitions of His children. In that spirit, our NDP Task Force has chosen One Voice, United in Prayer as our theme for 2014, based on Romans 15:6, “So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How encouraging to be reminded that all of us who have trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior have been given free and unhindered access to His presence. Not only are we invited to approach the very throne of God, but we have done nothing to deserve this extraordinary privilege. Our ability to interact personally with the Father is made possible only by virtue of His Son’s sacrifice on the cross.
Prior to Jesus’ sacrificial death, the veil in the temple separated the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence, the Holy of Holies, from man. This veil measured 60 feet high and four inches thick, representing the impassible chasm that once existed between the Almighty’s holiness and mankind’s depravity. Only the high priest could go behind the veil once a year to offer sacrifices for the atonement of man’s sins. Other than this annual occasion, access to God’s presence was guarded by the veil.
All this changed, however, when Christ paid the price for our sins. Matthew 27:50-51a powerfully describes this scene: “When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” With this incredible symbol, God offered us a glimpse into the full import of Christ’s death. No longer are we cut off from the Lord’s presence due to our sin; now, the forgiveness our Savior purchased for us has made it possible for us to enter the very presence of God and enjoy intimate fellowship with Him.
In keeping with this new relationship with our Heavenly Father, Hebrews 4:16 instructs, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The National Day of Prayer Task Force exists to help fulfill this exhortation. As we encourage and mobilize God’s people to approach the Almighty – not only for our personal concerns, but also for the needs of our nation, leaders and fellow citizens – we envision an outpouring of God’s Spirit across the land in response to the millions of petitions that are raised heavenward on America’s behalf.
I know you are besieged by numerous requests from worthy organizations seeking your backing. But in the coming days, please prayerfully consider placing the NDP Task Force on your list of priorities. And whatever you decide or are able to do, know that we value your friendship and commitment to pray for our nation. Abundant blessings to you!
Shirley Dobson, Chairman
Fellowship with God