For many Americans, the ability to gather, worship and pray are critical among the blessings offered by our free society. We recognize that this country was founded upon a bedrock of faith, and we understand the critical role that Divine Providence has played in our nation’s history – from the time our forebears first set foot on these shores to the present day. All of the achievements that define the American dream, from gleaming cities and busy byways to our equitable legal system and stable government, are a reflection of the faith-based ideals and spiritual convictions of the people. In the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Without God, there could be no American form of government nor any American way of life.”
From its earliest colonial days right on through to the 21st century, America has always been a nation steeped in faith - spiritual roots that must be embraced, celebrated and cherished. Her citizens, leaders and institutions have consistently acknowledged that freedom and democracy are blessings passed down directly from the hand of Providence. This reliance on Almighty God has sustained us in periods of turmoil and given us comfort during times of uncertainty. Collectively, we know that we have not been left to our own devices. We find peace and encouragement in the assurance that our destiny as a nation lies in the hands of the Creator of the universe, and that we can call upon His name, through His son Jesus Christ.
One of the most abiding indicators of America’s reliance on God over the years has been her commitment to prayer. As men and women of faith, we have long understood the importance of bringing our requests before Him. We do so not only to express our needs, but also to bow in both repentance and adoration. During his second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1893, President Grover Cleveland summarized our nation’s commitment to prayer by saying: “Above all, I know there is a Supreme Being who rules the affairs of men and whose goodness and mercy have always followed the American people, and I know He will not turn from us now if we humbly and reverently seek His powerful aid.”
In recognition of the fact that Almighty God continues to shed His grace on the United States, we urge Americans everywhere to come before Him corporately in earnest prayer. In so doing, may we thank Him for the blessings He has freely bestowed upon us; petition Him for direction and sustenance as we confront the challenges ahead; and acknowledge, in the sight of every nation on earth, our conviction that freedom and liberty are gifts of inestimable worth, handed down directly to us by our loving Creator. It is time to Wake Up America and to submit ourselves before the King of kings in repentance. May He hear our prayers, forgive our sin and heal our land.
As we enter the final month before the 65th annual National Day of Prayer, taking place Thursday, May 5th, our team is busily finalizing efforts to mobilize more than 40,000 prayer gatherings across the country. It is a movement of God that takes the combined efforts of thousands of volunteers, countless hours on the phone and the resources to reach out across the nation. 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!
In closing, let me share with you that, along with this letter, you will find enclosed a special booklet, which highlights some of the many things that God has done over the past 25 years through the leadership of Mrs. Shirley Dobson who has served faithfully as Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. We hope you enjoy this tribute and join with us in celebrating this momentous milestone and anniversary.
May God bless you and may God bless America!
National Day of Prayer Task Force
The Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ, says that those who follow Him are called to be salt and light in the world (Mat. 5:13-16). That means they are to love without being loved in return, to give as much as they can without concern for their own well-being, to serve with compassion and generosity, to pay their taxes, to be merciful and to be faithful to one another with dignity, integrity, and honor. They are to take on the very nature and characteristics of the spirit of God, which include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). These are only a few of the instructions from the only perfect man who ever walked the face of the earth. The Bible says we are to be imitators of Him and thus we strive each and every day to walk as He would walk and to live as He would live.
However, given that we are imperfect, we will make mistakes as we try to communicate with conviction and with kindness, with truth and with grace. In fact, there will be those who say they are Christians but act in a manner that is not suitable for one who claims to follow Christ. But truth be told, we are a family and families have family members who say things they shouldn’t and may not be as mature as others. So we work with them, forgive them and ask that you would do the same.
Another issue that concerns me greatly is the label on Christians that they “hate gay people”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We are not allowed to hate nor judge anyone (Mat. 7:1-5, I Thes. 4:11, Phil 4:4-9, John 8:1-11) if we claim to follow the Messiah. In Matthew 22:37-39, we are instructed by Jesus to do two things: 1) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. “ If we love the Lord then we are to keep His commandments (John 14:23). He then tells us to “Love your neighbor as yourself” adding “the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” So what does that mean? Well, it is clear. If we love God, we follow His instructions. He says that we should avoid all temptation of the flesh including sexual sin because we are His temples on the earth (I Cor. 6:15-20). He then tells us that if any of us are tempted, then it would be better to remove a body part that tempts us than to give in to that temptation of the flesh (Mat. 5:27-30). He also says that we are all ONE in Christ Jesus (those who follow Him) and that there are no labels and no categories of people (Gal. 3:28). That means we are all equals – humans made in His image (Gen. 1:27) – not gay or straight, black or white, male or female. We are all people and the same rules apply to us all. If we are tempted by sin, we are to flee from it. Paul says it would be better to be like him and to just focus on God (1 Cor. 7).
The bottom line is that we all come from the same two parents, Adam and Eve. We are all brothers and sisters in the flesh and we all need a holy reverence for God Almighty. In first Timothy 1, Paul reminds us that all sin breaks God’s heart (see Romans 1 as well), but then he adds this saying “I am a chief of sinners”. Meaning the more he draws near to God through Christ Jesus, the more he realizes how broken he is - desiring God all the more. Thus the realization of the plank in his own eye (Mat. 7:5) enables him to speak with understanding and intentionality as he seeks to spread the gospel message (1 Cor. 9:20). So, the more we put our eyes on Christ the more the lusts of the flesh subside. Christ is the only answer and He desires that all of us be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9).
All Scripture is God-breathed and given not by man’s interpretation (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:20). That means the Bible is the absolute truth and anything that my flesh desires is contrary to God’s will (Gal 5:17). So, we must cloak ourselves in humility understanding that salvation through Jesus is the only solution for us all.
In our continuing struggle against public policy and agendas that elevate sin in the culture, we must also remember that there are real people who are hurting and wounded by others and even by their own choices. These individuals may look to the church but with their walls up as they fearfully anticipate judgment and condemnation. If we have not love, we have nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). So, let’s get back to work reaching out to the world with a message of hope – that God first loved us and sent His Son to redeem a lost world (1 John 4:10-20).
- John Bornschein, Vice Chairman
“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Things that make people fall into sin are bound to happen, but how terrible for the one who makes them happen! It would be better for him if a large millstone were tied around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch what you do!’” (Luke 17:1-3 GNT)
When it comes to prayer and intercession, this is a critical passage. It is God who defines what sin is. On moral issues, His Word presents the correct viewpoint. Just because something is popular doesn’t make it right, and just because the courts rule in a particular way, doesn’t mean the judges’ decisions are right. As we struggle with the cycles that tolerance creates, we must remember to persist in our intercessory calling. Prayer is always the correct first response.
A primary characteristic of an intercessor’s heart is desperation. God responds to our desperation with His mercy. Increasing demands for tolerance may chip away and neutralize desperation. If we begin to tolerate ungodly things, we will not retain this desperate stance. Intercessory endurance is vital as we continually examine our hearts to ensure our desperation and sense of what is right are not diluted and thereby neutralized.
How, then, are we to do this? As with all spiritual battles, we overcome by faith and perseverance.
The apostles said to the Lord, “Make our faith greater” (Luke 17: 5 GNT).
Our Lord’s words were just as challenging to His early disciples as they are to us some 2,000 years later. In essence, they were saying, “HELP!” and so must we. They understood their ability be “salt” in the lives of others was limited in their own efforts; they needed greater faith.
This simple prayer, “Make our faith greater,” is one we will need to pray in days ahead, perhaps more than any time in our lives. We will need greater faith to examine our hearts, greater ability to know God’s heart, and greater power to pray and believe our God can still work miracles.
Faith grows as we ask and believe God. Faith changes the thoughts in our head, the attitudes of our hearts, and the actions of our hands. God has called us to join Him in shaping history through prayer and fasting, and we live in a day that we must pray for a greater measure of faith to do this.
Intercessors, as we watch the seemingly limitless parade of evil before our eyes, let us evaluate all we see through God’s eyes, guarding our hearts and praying for greater faith. Lord, make our faith greater.
- Dave Kubal, President of Intercessors for America
We are living now in the time Paul speaks about above. That time has come. We continue to see the escalation and acceleration of human depravity and crisis. There seems to be an increasing disregard for the love of truth. In fact, the Apostle Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 that some would be given to an unrighteous deception because they did not receive the love of the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Paul also addresses this with Timothy after giving him a very strong charge and challenge to his ministry.
Paul was deeply concerned that even amongst those who professed to know the truth, many no longer had a love for the truth. In 2 Timothy 4:5, he encourages us to make sure we are not disheartened or discouraged from keeping our focus:
“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Be watchful in all things
In other words, be morally alert, be sober, and have self control.
We must persevere through whatever challenges or hardships may come our way. We need to keep our vision of hope and our eyes on the destination of the Lord. Circumstances should not dictate who we are, because we know who we are in Christ.
Do the work of an evangelist
For the sacred to influence the secular, we must have the heart of our Savior for the souls of men. We may not all have the office of an evangelist or be called like a Billy Graham, but we are all called to do the work of an evangelist. We are all called to let the Lord’s light shine in our lives in such a way that it directs others to Him. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
I love this quote from the late Leonard Ravenhill: “Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle and let men burn and give no hand? Could you sit at ease in Zion (as a Christian) with the world around you damned?” There is such need in the world around us today. Shall we sit back on the beach of ease and comfort, when so many are still shipwrecked in a sea of despair and destruction?
A.W. Tozer said, “The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.”
We need to wake up from our slumber, quit pushing our snooze buttons, and awaken to the call to be good messengers in a world of bad news.
Fulfill Your Ministry
The Amplified Bible says, “Fully perform all the duties of your ministry.” We are all called to steward the ministry God has entrusted to us. At Somebody Cares, one of our core missions is reconciliation across racial, ethnic, and denominational lines. We have been reconciled to God through Christ Jesus, and now all of us have the ministry of reconciliation. This is so important during these times in which we live, to be ambassadors and bridge-builders in the natural as a beautiful picture of what God has done in the spiritual. 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 is a reminder not to lose heart lest we have a tendency to mishandle the Word of God through deceitfulness. We should rather manifest the truth to others.
We can only manifest the Truth if we ourselves have the love of the Truth. Too often we turn our ears away from the truth because we raise up our own “golden calf,” so to speak. We set up our personal preferences based on our own perceptions, thus disregarding the truth where our sacred cows are concerned. As I’ve said often, “Perception is not necessarily the truth, but it is the truth to the one who perceives it.” If we are not careful and discerning, we can filter our worldview through our personal preferences or experiences, rather than through the Word, character, nature, and Spirit of God; whereby, we create our own world and personal kingdoms based on our own perceptions. May our eyes be opened with discernment, and our hearts return
The Apostle Paul begins his challenge to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1 with this: “I CHARGE you…before God and the Lord Jesus Christ…” The inference is, “as if in the very Presence of God Himself.” Verse 2 says: Preach the word! Be instant in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
Here we see some key exhortations:
Preach the Word:
The writer of the song Amazing Grace was John Newton (1792-1875). He was a former slave ship captain who had an encounter with the Lord and later became an Anglican clergyman. I love this quote of his that really does give us a picture of what our preaching of the Word should do. “My grand point in preaching is to break the hard heart, and to heal the broken one.” Powerful! I also love this quote from another popular English preacher, Rowland Hill (1744-1833):“I don’t like those mighty fine preachers who round off their sentences so beautifully that they are sure to roll off the sinner’s conscience.”
Or, how about this quote from the late A.W. Tozer from his teaching on “The Gift of Prophetic Insight,” which he wrote about religious leaders who lack understanding of present conditions:
“Religious leaders who continue to mechanically expound the scriptures without regard to the current religious situation are no better than the scribes and lawyers of Jesus’ day who faithfully parroted the law without the remotest notion of what was going on around them spiritually…
“The Prophets never made that mistake nor wasted their efforts in that manner. They invariably spoke to the condition of the people of their times. Today we need prophetic preachers; not preachers of prophecy merely, but preachers with a gift of prophecy… We need the gift of discernment again in our pulpits. It is not the ability to predict that we need, but the anointed eye, the power of spiritual penetration and interpretation, the ability to appraise the religious scene as viewed from God’s position, and to tell us what is actually going on.”
Today, we have some of the most gifted orators and well trained communicators and pontificators, but what we need are those who have also been in the Presence of the Lord, who can hear from Him and communicate His heart to a desperate world. We need to be those who love God and the people He has called us to serve more than we love ourselves.
As 1 Corinthians 9:16-18 says, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me: yes, woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.”
Be instant in season and out of season:
The Amplified Bible says it this way: “Keep your sense of urgency… be at hand and ready, whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable, whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it be welcome or unwelcome.” In other words, to “be instant” means to be at hand, to stand by, i.e., to be prepared, ready, keeping your sense of urgency. Notice that to be instant in and out of season may not always be favorable, convenient, or welcomed!
The Greek word elenxon also means to convince or correct.
This word also means “to censure.” Censure is an expression of strong disapproval or denouncement, an official reprimand. Wikipedia says, “Censure is a process by which a formal reprimand is issued to an individual by an authoritative body.” We have seen this at times over the years with leaders who have misused their office or position. Both “reprove” and “rebuke” infer to challenge, correct, and discipline. The Lord corrects to guide and instruct those He loves. Likewise, our love for others moves us with deep compassion to do the same.
The Greek word parakaleson can be translated either exhort or encourage, depending on the context in which it is used. It also means to bring edification and comfort.
Yes, the time has come for us to be lovers of truth and sound doctrine, and to be sensitive and discerning of the times. May we recognize the hour in which we are living and heed the call of the Lord as His Church. As in the days of Noah, we are seeing many disturbing and atrocious things, yet by divine warning Noah built an ark that served as a vehicle of salvation and preservation in the midst of judgment. Likewise, may we become a spiritual ark for others to find refuge, salvation, preservation, and deliverance.
Together, may we be able to say like the apostle Paul:
“I have fought the good fight… I have finished the race… I have kept (persevered) the faith!”
- Dr. Doug Stringer
Doug Stringer is the Founder and President of Somebody Cares America and Somebody Cares International, a global network of chapters, centers, affiliate and partner churches and organizations working together to bring hope and healing to their communities through Prayer initiatives, Compassion outreaches and Cooperative efforts.
Revised versions of this and other articles by Doug Stringer can be found in various printed and online magazines, as well as www.DougStringer.com.
Dr. Ronnie Floyd
There is no great movement of God that has ever occurred that does not begin with the extraordinary prayer of God’s people. The time is now for us to come together before God in clear agreement, visible union, and in extraordinary prayer for the next Great Awakening and for the world to be reached for Christ.
For the sake of our nation and the spiritually lost around the world, it is time to humble ourselves before God. For this, I plead with all pastors, missionaries, laypersons, denominational leaders, churches, denominational entities, conventions, colleges and universities; from student to adult, regardless of age, vocation, or status.
As we come to God in humility and repentance, entering into this special season of extraordinary prayer, we plead with God for spiritual revival personally, revival in the church, and the next Great Awakening in the United States. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes:
“And in movements of the Spirit the first thing that happens and which eventually leads to a great revival is that one man or a group of men suddenly begin to feel this burden and they feel the burden so much that they are led to do something about it.” Revival: Martyn Lloyd-Jones, p. 163
I am pleading with each of you to join in this spiritual movement to pray for the next Great Awakening so the Great Commission will escalate to its rightful priority and accelerate to its completion in our generation.
When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness. Acts 4:31 (HCSB)
A Look Back
Jonathan Edwards was a man who believed in the absolute sovereignty of God. He was the catalyst for the first Great Awakening and was even impactful in the second Great Awakening. Even with Edwards’ deep abiding belief in God’s sovereignty, he called upon God’s people to act because he believed God would listen to the promptings of His people.
In fact, Malcolm McDow and Alvin L. Reid’s Firefall 2.0: How God Shapes History Through Revival (Wake Forest: Gospel Advance Books, 2014), p. 207, they record the words that Edwards wrote to pastors directly:
“Be much in prayer and fasting, both in secret and with one another. It seems to me, it would become the circumstances of the present day, if ministers in a neighborhood would often meet together, and spend days in fasting and fervent prayer among themselves…. So it is God’s will that the prayers of His saints shall be great and the principal means of carrying on the designs of Christ’s Kingdom in the world. When God has something to accomplish for His church, it is with His will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayer of His people.”
Therefore, as we look back, we must fully embrace the deep belief that God responds to the prayers of His people, especially when these prayers are cried out to Him in desperation and done in an extraordinary way. Evidence is becoming clearer nationally that God is calling His people into a season of special focus and commitment to extraordinary prayer.
It has been over 100 years since the last great move of God occurred in our nation. It was in 1857 and 1858 that a movement of prayer led to 1 million people becoming Christ-followers from a population of only 30 million in our nation. This movement of prayer was begun in New York City by a layperson named Jeremiah Lanphier. After failing to minister effectively to the immigrants in his church’s neighborhood, Lanphier was moved to pray.
At noon on September 23, 1857, in the Dutch Reformed Church on Fulton Street in New York City, Jeremiah Lanphier knelt alone. Before 1 p.m. six men joined him. Within a month, 100 men joined him daily. Soon, thousands of men began to pray each day at noon around New York City. This resulted in 1 million Americans coming to Christ within a two-year span, as well as another 1 million converted to Christ in Great Britain and Ireland.
The church was revived. Christians were never the same. The fires of evangelism were burning brightly. The advance of the gospel to the nations of the world was profound. Men like David Livingstone, J. Hudson Taylor, and eventually the Student Volunteer Movement saw 20,000 young people surrender their lives to missions. Additionally, these great movements of God impacted renowned men of history like Charles Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, and William Booth.
These were not perfect times. Simultaneously, tension over slavery was growing and financial panic was occurring. In this time of uncertainty, God’s people became desperate and began to cry out to Him. The Sovereign God of Heaven determined to pour out His Spirit in a supernatural way, resulting in one of the greatest movements of God in the history of our nation.
While it has been over 100 years since the last great movement of God upon our nation, we cannot ignore the moments when the Lord has still moved upon our nation powerfully. For example, in the early 1970s, the Jesus Movement touched a generation, including many of our leaders today. Through this work of God, thousands came to Christ, followed by many of them being called into ministry. The greatest year of reaching and baptizing teenagers in our Southern Baptist history occurred in 1972, all due to the influence of the Jesus Movement. While not a “great” awakening, many joyfully remember the work of God in those days.
Sadly, we now have a generation or more of people who have never experienced anything close to a movement of God with this level of impact. It is past time for this to change. God is ready, are we?
Our Present Status
Unquestionably, we find ourselves experiencing days unlike any we have seen in our history. The moral slide in our nation has degraded into a revolution that seems to be out of control. While marriage is being redefined by our culture and the family is under an unprecedented attack, social problems are rising everywhere due to this new cultural reality. Simultaneously, there are so many national and global crises rising up that we cannot keep up with their supposed threats. As well, the world is becoming more dangerous by the second.
While this present status is undeniable, much of the church in America sleeps. Spiritual lukewarmness is plaguing the church, resulting in the infrequency of church attendance, declining churches, lagging evangelism, sagging giving, and generational disconnectedness. Complacency and conflict categorize the church more than contrition and compassion. Among the people of God, announcements and promotions within the church gain a higher priority in planning and follow through than prayer.
While these realities are rising to a seeming point of no return, it is in this hour that we must wake up from our slothfulness and sleep. Romans 13:11 says, Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
We are at a decisive point in time. Therefore, this is an undeniable moment and season, fixed by a sovereign God as a moment of destiny. God is at work and we cannot miss this season of decision and opportunity by being unresponsive and asleep.
A Call to Extraordinary Prayer and Urgent Action
The church must rise up in extraordinary prayer and urgent action. We must take desperate steps forward spiritually during these desperate times in which we live. With urgency in this hour, knowing the Lord could return at anytime, it is incumbent on us to rise up together now as His Church.
Therefore, I am pleading with our (church) Family to come together in clear agreement, visible union, and extraordinary prayer for the next Great Awakening and for the world to be reached for Christ.
Recently, I read a sermon by Dr. Billy Graham that he preached on October 14, 1993, at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In this sermon, “Can Revival Come?”, Dr. Graham called for revival and awakening. In one sentence, he cast a vision that represents my overwhelming passion personally and for all (churches). He said, “An awakening can bring about evangelization of the world in our generation.” These words so resonate with my pleading with (churches) and beyond.
Surely we can embrace with clear agreement that spiritual revival personally, spiritual revival in the church, and spiritual awakening in the nation are all needed so we can accelerate our pace in reaching the world for Christ. Certainly we can deny ourselves, defer our own preferences, and visibly unite in extraordinary prayer for the next Great Awakening and for the world to be reached for Christ.
With conviction in this desperate hour, I want to call us to consider some unprecedented actions in our modern history that will move us into a season of extraordinary prayer as a convention of churches.
Join Dr. Ronnie Floyd, Mrs. Shirley Dobson, Dr. Billy Wilson and many others at the Prayer and Leadership Summit on October 16-18, 2015 in Colorado Springs, CO. Learn more at www.prayerleaders.org
At the height of the glory of the Persian Empire, among the Jewish families who did not return to Jerusalem after being taken into captivity by the Babylonians was a man named Mordecai and his orphan cousin, Esther. The story of her rise from total obscurity to become the queen of the world’s most powerful monarch of that time, King Xerxes, illustrates how God uses events and people as instruments to fulfill His plans in the world.
Xerxes elevated his most trusted advisor Haman, who ordered everyone to kneel before him whenever in his company. When Mordecai repeatedly refused to kneel, the enraged and egotistical Haman discovered that Mordecai was Jewish. In a villainous moment, perhaps rivaled in history only by the Holocaust, Haman convinced Xerxes to sign a law to have all the Jews exterminated and to seize their property.
Hearing of the new law, Mordecai pleaded with Esther, urging her to go to the king and beg for mercy and plead for her people. “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). After calling upon the Jews in the capital city to fast and pray, Esther risked her own life, exposed Haman’s plot and true character, and saved the entire nation. Even today, Jews celebrate their deliverance through the Feast of Purim.
Similarly, as American troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, President Franklin Roosevelt called for our nation to unite in prayer. He also offered a prayer to prepare each citizen for the road ahead. “Let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be. And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee.” The victory that followed on June 6, 1944, also known as D-day, began the march to Berlin. Eighteen months later, WWII was over, and one of the world’s greatest evils had been defeated. The prayers of a nation had been a powerful force.
Prayer has always been used in this country for guidance, protection, and strength, even before we were a nation or a handful of colonies. The Pilgrims at Plymouth relied on prayer during their first and darkest winter. Our Founding Fathers also called for prayer during the Constitutional Congress. In their eyes, our recently created nation and freedoms were a direct gift from God. And being a gift from God, there was only one way to ensure protection – through prayer.
President Abraham Lincoln knew this well. It was his belief that, “It is the duty of nations as well as men, to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God.” When it came to the fate of the nation, he practiced what he preached. Before the battle of Gettysburg, he turned to God in prayer. “I went to my room one day, and I locked the door and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed to Him mightily for victory at Gettysburg.” Won by the Union, Gettysburg was one of the turning points in the war that ended slavery and kept the states united.
Today, the need for prayer is as great as ever. Our nation again faces battlefields, along with an epidemic of broken homes, violence, sexual immorality, and social strife. As the heroes of our nation did in the past, we must again bow our heads in prayer. We must ask the Lord to bless our leaders with wisdom and protection, and that we will have the fortitude to overcome the challenges at hand. If Esther, Mordecai, Roosevelt, the Pilgrims, and Lincoln never underestimated the power of prayer, neither should we.
The 64th annual National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 7. Join the prayer movement at www.nationaldayofprayer.org
- Lance Wubbels
Can You Relate?
This morning, I woke up and began reading an article. It talked about two people who knew the same person in different ways. Two different people can know someone in completely different ways and on completely different levels. The article sounded as though they were talking about a different man! This opened my eyes to something that I’d like to share.
While in the airport, I sat next to a man named Joe who was stressed out about something. When I asked where he was going, he replied, “Paris, then Austria.” I replied, “What have you got to be stressed about! That sounds fun!” Then he said, “I’ve been worried about leaving everything for two weeks. But this is going to be fun. My brothers and I are going with my mother. When she got cancer, her bucket-list included this trip.”
“Wow! I’m sorry, but it’s great that you are going to get to do this with her!”
He went on, “Crazy thing is that she’s in remission now, so it’s a kind of bucket-list/celebratory trip.”
I talked to Joe about my father’s death 3 years ago. After he died, we found a book he was filling out for my son. My sisters and I were in tears! It was as though he was speaking from the grave. What I got most from the book was how little I knew about my father! I got to spend more time with him than anyone but my mother. Still there was so much that I never asked him! I urged Joe, “Don’t take this time for granted! Ask you mother everything you can. Get to know her! Spending time is a great way to get to know her, but really seeking out those things you don’t know about her is important to knowing who she really is!”
Joe said he’d do that and we parted ways.
Seek, and ye shall relate
I thought I knew what that verse meant. You know the one: “Seek and ye shall find.” (Matt 7:7) I used to equate it only with asking what you wanted or needed from God. I see it from a new perspective after talking to Joe.
Yesterday was my father’s birthday. He would have been 71 years old. For 20 years, we worked together, we fished and hunted together, he coached my teams, and we lived together for most of that time. Yet I knew so little about him. Why?
I now think I was so obsessed with sharing my feelings with him that I hardly ever paused to hear his. I always told him what I wanted or needed, but never asked him what he wanted or needed. I spent so much time talking and so little time seeking that I missed so much about knowing my father’s heart.
Relationship is all about seeking
In my walk with God, I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer with Him. But unfortunately, most of that prayer was about what I wanted – what I needed. Doing this is an important part of relationship, but I’ve been missing out on what is really important in my walk with God: knowing His heart, His wants and His needs. You see, I’ve been missing out on the best part of our relationship – my knowing of just who He is.
I know he is my Father. I know He has my best interests at heart. I know that He created me for His purpose. So why wouldn’t I seek exactly who He is?
If I know more about God, I’ll surely know more about what His purpose for me is, right? If I know more about God, I’ll trust that he has my best interests at heart, right? If I know more of just who God is, I won’t have to wait until we meet face to face to see what he has in store for me. And I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to lose an opportunity. I want to seek, I want to find, and I want to know; to know God’s heart is the key. And to know God’s heart will take one thing and one thing only: to seek; to ask; to have an honest and open relationship with Him.
True relationship is two-way, not one-way. I think I’m going to focus a little more on seeking what I can find out about this wonderful, all powerful being that created me in His image to do something that no one else on earth was called here to do. And I believe if I truly do that, the direction of my life will be forever changed in a direction towards God’s will for me, and not towards my will for my life.
Look out God – here I come!
- Danny Cahill
Danny is the winner of NBC's The Biggest Loser! He lost an amazing 55.58% of his body weight during the show, still the largest percentage of any man in the history of the show and 2nd overall, and can now happily say he is “less than half the man he used to be!”
Since winning “The Biggest Loser”, Danny has appeared on numerous national television programs including The Today Show, The Jay Leno Show, Live with Regis & Kelly, The Doctors, The Joy Behar show, Larry King Live, The Suze Orman Show, Issues with Jane Valez-Mitchell, Joyce Meyer’s Everyday Living, and many more! He writes and records music and is now a highly sought after Motivational Speaker with an untold story you won’t believe! He will inspire any listener to reach new heights, reclaim their hopes and dreams, and move forward and face any obstacle in life! Click here to connect with Mr. Danny Cahill >>
“Prayer is everything,” Oswald Chambers wrote. The ministry of intercession involves all types of prayer, and this type of prayer is always at the center of whatever is happening in this world for God. The emphasis of the prayer ministry in intercession is the needs of others and the advancement of God’s interests in the world. It is not simply focused on praying for things for oneself, but for others.
In his book With Christ in the School of Prayer, Andrew Murray wrote: “Christ has opened the school of prayer specifically to train intercessors for the great work of bringing down, by their faith and prayer, the blessings of His work and love on the world around.” He added, “Though in its beginnings, prayer is so simple that the feeblest child can pray, yet it is at the same time the highest and holiest work to which man can rise.” Oswald Chambers reflected the same thought when he said, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.” Through prayer God invites you to make a profound difference in the world but you’ve got to pray.
- Lance Wubbels
This article is part eight in our 8-part series on Prayer.
(Taken from “A Time for Prayer” published by Inspired Faith for the National Day of Prayer – used with permission)
The upcoming National Day of Prayer is only the beginning!
You are invited to join with intercessors from around the world in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the Leadership Summit, October 16-18, 2015. Discounted registration is available (for a limited time) and includes 5 meals and transportation! Learn to mobilize people to intercession as you gain a deeper understanding of prayer with like-minded believers. Register now at prayerleaders.org
The Leadership Summit speakers will challenge you through powerful ideas, stirring discussions and biblical models. They will take us through life-changing principles that will serve as a roadmap for effectual prayer.
Together, we will also experience a Concert of Prayer at the Jericho Center, focusing on personal repentance, intercession and praise, that will help us draw closer to Almighty God as He prepares us for the work ahead. There should also be plenty of time for fellowship and networking, which are invaluable. It is our hope that you will depart having learned important truths, formed valuable insights and charged-up to commit yourself to action – inspired with vision that ignites audacious faith.
Get registered today and we will see you in Colorado Springs, October 16-18, 2015!
Many effective prayer warriors recognize the importance of spending much time in worship. This deepens our fellowship with God, increases our faith, and pleases the Holy Spirit. We are then more likely to really hear His voice and thus pray more effectively.
- Lance Wubbels
This article is part seven in our 8-part series on Prayer.