Relationship is the core of effective, powerful prayer. Each of us has been given the ability to come before God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) at any time to communicate with our Creator. This is one of the truths that makes our faith unique, but it can be difficult for our minds to grasp. On an earthly level, we are not accustomed to this kind of unlimited access to those in authority, but God is different. We can approach Him in an instant. He wants to hear from us and is pleased when we call! He will never put us “on hold,” tell us He will respond later, His “phone” off the hook or let an answering machine take our message.
The real power of prayer in history…is the corporate action of a Savior-Intercessor and His community, a volume and energy of prayer organized in the Holy Spirit and in the Church the Spirit creates… True prayer…is in the most organic and vital context of affairs, private and public, if all things work together, deeply and afar, for the deep and final kingdom of God.
In times of conflict we naturally pray for peace on earth. Yet in God’s righteous and final judgment, the problems of this life will quickly fall away. Our only concern then will be for our citizenship in His eternal kingdom in heaven.
P.R.A.Y. for Today
Praise God for His sovereignty over our world, and for His assured victory over evil; repent of any ear of evil you’ve had or any failure to trust Him; ask for His peace; yield to Him by offering encouragement to others who seem fearful or insecure.
- Shirley Dobson, Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force
The 64th annual National Day of Prayer is fast approaching! On Thursday, May 7, NDP Task Force volunteers throughout the country will coordinate events where millions of Americans will gather to humble themselves before the Lord – and there are additional untold numbers who will be participating in other ways.
This annual observance powerfully demonstrates the religious freedoms that were secured by our Founding Fathers who recognized that our innate human rights are inexorably tied to our relationship with the Creator.
America’s rich tradition of prayer was established by those who sacrificed to lay the foundation for a government based on the principles in God’s Word. Yet our nation has departed from those solid underpinnings, abandoning our hard-won birthright. We now waver between righteousness and immorality, and this vacillation puts us in great jeopardy. In the words of one early leader, President James Madison:
We’ve staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us … to Govern ourselves according to the commandments of God.
One of the greatest “layperson revivals” in American history occurred in 1857. At that time there were 30,000 men idle on the streets of New York. Drunkenness was rampant, and the nation was divided on slavery. On September 23, 1857, Jeremiah Lanphier, a praying businessman, began a noontime prayer meeting on Fulton Street in the Financial District of Manhattan. Out of a city of one million people, six individuals showed up. However, the crowds grew, day by day, and within three months there were prayer meetings all over the city. More than 50,000 people in New York City alone paused each Wednesday at noon to pray. The prayer revival soon spread across the nation, and in about 18 months, a million people were converted to Jesus Christ.
We believe that God can bring about another great awakening in our nation if we humble ourselves and pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways (II Chronicles 7:14). There is still hope for America. That is why Dr. Jack Graham, our Honorary Chairman, and I are calling for 30-days of fasting and prayer to begin on the National Day of Prayer.
It’s my heartfelt prayer that this year’s theme, Lord, Hear Our Cry, will prompt our fellow citizens to turn to God in reverence and humility. As 1 Kings 8:28 reminds us, “Hear the cry and the prayer your servant is praying in your presence this day.” The Almighty is waiting for Americans to turn back to Him in a posture of prayer and repentance. May we, this day, determine to surrender our ways to Him, giving God the honor He deserves so that, as Psalm 85 states, “His glory may dwell in our land.”
If you can assist us financially during this time of National Prayer, it would be appreciated greatly. And please do plan to participate either locally or in Washington D.C. on May 7th, our nation’s National Day of Prayer.
May God bless you and may God bless America!
Chairman, NDP Task Force
In today's tumultuous times, we all have moments where we are afraid, anxious, and worried. But there's an antidote for this anxious age. It connects us to the greatest source of peace, hope, and security that we could ever imagine. The cure is the remarkable gift from our loving and merciful God. It's called prayer.
Though many may call the twenty-first century the Age of Anxiety, our current troubles are not new. Mankind's future has always been uncertain. Since the days of Noah and his family, Moses and the nation of Israel, the persecuted early Church, the Pilgrims, and America's Founding Fathers, the answer for people facing adversity has always been the same: Almighty God.
Simply put, there is no security apart from Him. When problems threaten to engulf us, we must do what believers have always done - turn to the Lord for encouragement and solace. We never need to face the fury of life's storms on our own. He keeps His promise: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). He stands just to the side ever watchful, waiting to embrace us the moment we ask His presence. His words to Jeremiah apply to us all: "Call to me and I will answer you" (Jeremiah 33:3).
Prayer is our pathway not only to divine protection, but also to a personal, intimate relationship with God. The Lord desires a personal, two-way conversation with me and with you. You are His child. He wants you to seek Him, to love Him, and to spend time daily with Him. When you do, He hears and responds (Matthew 6:6). Your prayers never go unanswered. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it is no, and sometimes it is wait. But our heavenly Father is there even in the most troubling of circumstances.
Are you ready to renew or increase your commitment to prayer? Do you want contentment in your heart and peace in your world? If your answer is yes - or even maybe - keep reading and discover God's remarkable gift called prayer. It will change your life, the lives around you, and even the course of history.
- Shirley Dobson, Chairman
It has been an incredible year here at the National Day of Prayer Task Force. In our 2014 Impact Report, we want to share with you just a glimpse of what God has done through this ministry as a result of your support and there is still much to be done. This past May we witnessed the largest day of prayer in U.S. History with over 43,000 prayer gatherings taking place from coast to coast. More than 250,000 people participated in the National Observance watching live in 90 countries. In addition, our team launched a second Pray for America Bus Tour, where we mobilized prayer groups in 15 key cities concluding the tour in Hollywood, California for a 5-day solemn assembly.
We trust that Christ will equip us to spread His powerful message of hope to others as they see the difference faith makes in our lives. Millions of people are experiencing moral fatigue and confusion and are yearning for leaders who will rebuild our society on compassion, decency, authenticity, and character. As these individuals look for answers and leadership that will provide help for their families, communities, and nation, many may realize for the first time their need of spiritual guidance. And we have the privilege of pointing them to the Source of all wisdom and power, their Heavenly Father. What an exciting moment in history to be involved in calling America to repentance and prayer! I believe God has established and blessed the National Day of Prayer for “such a time as this.”
With these things in mind, our theme for 2015, Lord, Hear Our Cry (based on I Kings 8:28, “Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day”), conveys a powerful reminder to us that only in contrite humility before Him will we see the change we are crying out for. God stands ready to refine us as gold for His glory, and prayer provides the impetus for change! In the words of E.M. Bounds, “How vast are the possibilities of prayer! How wide its reach! It lays its hand on Almighty God and moves Him to do what He would not do if prayer was not offered.”
As we strive to further the cause of prayer, we are thankful for the many ways in which God has provided for our ministry and allowed us to expand our efforts. As we rejoice in what has been accomplished and look expectantly to the future, may I ask you to prayerfully consider partnering with us financially in this ministry to our nation? Your tax-deductible donation would be greatly appreciated at this crucial time.
Thank you for your devotion to prayer for this ministry and our great land. You are impacting eternity! May God’s grace and peace be yours in the busy months ahead.
- Shirley Dobson, Chairman
I learned to depend on the Lord early in my childhood. During those turbulent years, my mother held our little family together. Though she wasn’t a Christian at the time, she knew she needed all the help she could get as she raised her children. So she sent my brother and me to church every Sunday, and it was there that I was introduced to Jesus Christ and invited Him into my heart.
As I learned how to pray and began speaking to the Lord, I sensed His love and care for me. Amid the chaos of our disintegrating family, this little girl found hope and comfort in Jesus. I’ve been praying and relying on Him ever since.
Prayer is our pathway not only to divine protection, but also to a personal, intimate relationship with God. That’s why I am so honored to be in my 23rd year as chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. I count it a privilege to play a small part in calling people of faith to their knees.
I remember vividly the day when I was called to lead this prayer ministry that is actively engaged in praying for our nation’s leaders. Bill and Vonette Bright had invited my husband, Jim, and me to their home in 1989. Vonette, who had been the chairman of the National Day of Prayer for eight years, turned to me and said, “Shirley, I feel that the Lord wants you to succeed me as the chairman.”
I was shocked! “Oh no, Vonette,” I said. “I just couldn’t take on anything of that magnitude.” I had my hands full as the wife of a busy husband, and I was also a member of the board for his international ministry. Besides, who could fill the shoes of Vonette Bright?
So, initially, I turned her down graciously. But as I was driving home, I sensed God saying: “Shirley, you didn’t talk to Me about Vonette’s request. You haven’t even prayed about it. America’s leaders need prayer.”
So I committed to pray about it. And I asked that if the Lord really was directing me to take on this load, Jim would be in favor of it.
I expected Jim to say, “Shirley, we have all we can handle, and it would be very difficult for us to add anything else right now.” Instead, he stunned me with his response. He was sitting at his desk, and he leaned back in his chair, clasped his hands behind his head, looked straight at me and said, “Shirley, what more important ministry could you be involved in than calling the nation to prayer?”
In September of 1991, I started the new position. Looking back over the years, it is amazing to see how the Lord has blessed and grown the National Day of Prayer. This year, on the first Thursday of May, we had some 42,000 prayer gatherings across the nation.
The Lord Jesus demonstrated the significance of prayer. He “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). He “went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God” (Luke 6:12). He even told His disciples the parable about justice for the persistent widow “to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).
If Christians would pray as Jesus instructed us, it would change our lives—and the course of history. Our nation’s leaders are openly asking for prayer from the public. As a matter of fact, members of both houses of Congress met recently in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda for a time of prayer and reconciliation. In the midst of our tumultuous times, God may be preparing hearts for a new openness to seeking Him through the lifeline of prayer.
The Apostle Paul urged that “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Let’s please God by actively seeking, through prayer, “peaceful and quiet lives” for our nation and its leaders.
Indeed, we must remain in fervent prayer for those who serve as representatives of the people, even if we do not agree with all the decisions those in authority are making—which is all the more reason to pray for them.
I have spent a great deal of time over the years with our nation’s leaders. It has been an honor and a privilege to pray with them. Often their personal lives are under constant attack, with little balance between work and family time. The demands of their positions are great, and rarely do they receive thanks from the individuals they represent. They are regularly burdened and live in a perpetual state of urgency because of the far-reaching implications of their decisions. Loneliness and feelings of isolation are common.
Not long ago, my team and I spent five days going office to office just to pray with congressional representatives and their staffs. Many expected us to present an agenda with a list of demands. Instead, the walls came down as we shared our gratitude and our desire to bless them with intercession, showing authentic concern for their well-being.
One of our team members shared with me that they had gone to the office of a senator from New York. He was leaving for a very important meeting for which he was already late, so he couldn’t stop to talk. Our team explained that they were simply there to pray and bless him and his staff. The senator smiled, exchanged a few pleasantries and swiftly exited. Our team then engaged the senator’s staff and began to pray with them.
At that moment, the senator returned to the room and dropped to his knees. He said he couldn’t proceed with the decisions of the day without the blessing of Almighty God to guide him. Our prayer team gathered around him and asked God to give him wisdom and discernment.
He hugged the members of our group and then headed to a debate on the sanctity of human life. Our team had no idea what was before him when they entered his office that morning. But out of obedience to pray for our leaders, they went. As a result, a radical abortion bill was defeated in the Senate that day.
Prayer works, and it is transforming homes and communities across the globe. If God’s people will lift up every person who leads our churches, cities, states and yes, even our nation, God will hear and will heal our land. Are you ready to know certain peace in uncertain times? Good. It’s time to pray. ©2014 Shirley Dobson
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Shirley Dobson is the wife of psychologist and author Dr. James C. Dobson and has served as chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force since 1991. Several million people participate every year in this call to prayer for our nation, its leaders and citizens. To learn more or to get involved, visit NationalDayofPrayer.org.
National Observance – Thursday, May 1, 2014
Cannon House Office Building – Caucus Room 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance – Mr. John Bornschein, Vice Chairman National Day of Prayer Task Force
Opening Remarks – Mrs. Shirley Dobson, Chairman National Day of Prayer Task Force
Scripture Reading – Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, President of Hope of the World Ministries
Blowing of the Shofar – Rabbi Neal Surasky, Chosen People Ministries
Prayer of Blessing – Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, S.J. Chaplain, U.S. House of Representatives
Prayer for the Nations – Ambassador Bobby Little and Ambassador Zoran Jolevski (Republic of Macedonia)
A Congressional Welcome – Congressman Robert Aderholt (Alabama)
Worship – Don Moen
Prayer of Repentance – Jeff Noel, National Prayer Committee
Judicial Branch Remarks – Judge Maurice Foley
Prayer for the Judicial Branch – Dr. Dick Eastman, Every Home for Christ
Personal Remarks – Dr. James C. Dobson, Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk
Legislative Branch Remarks – Congressman Mike McIntyre (NC, 7th District)
The Legacy of Prayer in America – The Honorable Bob McEwen
Military Remarks – Major General Joseph S. Ward, Jr.
Prayer for the Military Branch – Chaplain Wayne Brittian (LTC)
Keynote Speaker – Anne Graham Lotz, Honorary Chairman National Day of Prayer Task Force
Prayer for the Executive Branch – Mr. David Butts, Harvest Prayer Ministries
Prayer Challenge – Mr. John Bornschein and Rabbi Jonathan Cahn
Closing Song – Don Moen
This program agenda is tentative and subject to change.
This special observance was hosted by Congressman Robert Aderholt (Alabama, 4th District)
Anne Graham Lotz, 2014 Honorary Chairman and daughter of Rev. Billy Graham, delivered a powerful message on prayer and repentance at the National Observance of the 63rd annual National Day of Prayer. Her 29-minute appeal to God's people was one of the highlights of the solemn assembly in Washington D.C. and was viewed around the world in more than 200 countries.
The 2014 National Observance was broadcast on DirecTV channel 365 and streamed LIVE on this website.[hr]
National Observance in Washington DC - National Day of Prayer Task Force
[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: