At a time when our country is so sorely divided, today’s National Day of Prayer theme, “Love one another” is the perfect antidote to the prevailing public vitriol and reminds us that even in the midst of differences, love can and must prevail.
The National Day of Prayer occurs annually in the United States on the first Thursday of May and is intended to mobilize unified public prayer for America. People of all faiths are asked to gather on this day, in public and private, to pray for our nation.
“The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation as it enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions,” explains the website.
“It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.”
The tradition began in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Thereafter, a privately funded task force has been charged with encouraging participation in the day and for communicating to every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer for the sake of the nation. It aims to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders as well as its families.
“The Task Force represents a Judeo-Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible,” the site explains.
People across the country are organizing public prayer events ranging from setting up neighborhood potlucks to candlelight vigils. “Ring around the courthouse/statehouse” events are also popular and feature citizens joining hands and encircling a government building while praying for God’s direction and blessing on all that occurs within.
Churches are also involved, hosting prayer services, celebrating Mass, and staging 24-hour prayer events.
The Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) is reporting on an annual event that takes place on the steps of the Capitol where a group gathers for a 90-hour Bible reading marathon. This group has been showing up every year on this day, rain or shine, since 1990. Today’s celebration saw 400 people participate, including a few lawmakers.
Capitol Hill is also getting involved.
Congressman Mike Johnson (R-LA) told CBN that he felt the theme was particularly appropriate for such a time as this. Johnson is leading efforts on Capitol Hill to unite Congress by co-chairing the Honor and Civility Caucus with Rep. Charlies Crist (D-FL).
“It’s a bipartisan effort to just get members to talk to each other, and basically follow the Golden Rule to treat one another with dignity and respect as fellow Americans and part of the American family,” says Johnson.
For those who want to participate in a local event, this link will provide the nearest location.
Privately, we can all take time on this National Day of Prayer to ask for God’s blessing upon this nation and His forgiveness for our sins. Perhaps we can stop in the local adoration chapel for a moment of prayer, recite the Rosary on our lunch hour, or make it a point to offer the Chaplet of Mercy at 3:00 p.m. today in atonement for the sins of our world.
Whatever the Spirit moves our hearts to do, let us rejoice that this is the day the Lord has made for our nation to come together in the most powerful way possible – through prayer!
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