"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Who needs a national day of prayer? I don’t.
So…I was doing the unthinkable again…searching for “things” on Google, and came across this article. It is clear from the article that Mr. Hankins is not a fan of religion. He abhors (I think it is fair to say) government sponsored religion. While we disagree on 90% of the argument (perhaps from the 3rd paragraph down) I do agree with a particular point he does make…why do we have a National Day of Prayer? His point more specifically…and to quote “Any religious group that needs the government to sponsor its religious worship is a feckless flock. Had I been a member of any of the participating groups, I would have been ashamed.” Additionally he says “If a religion requires government sponsorship to give it meaning, its God must be the most impotent God ever imagined by the human mind.” While I disagree with the imagined God part, I believe that Mr. Hankins makes a valid point, and I believe the Bible supports that point. Why do we need a “national day of prayer”?
First lets take a look at the actual legislation that declares the National Day of Prayer… 36 U.S.C § 119 “The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups and as individuals.”
This seems a little off to me. There is nothing in particular that we are supposed to pray for according to the legislation. Not to pray for our leaders, or government. So my question…Why isn’t every day a national day of prayer for Christians? Do we as Christians REALLY need a national day of prayer or should we be constantly praying for our nation?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 provides the clearest answer to these questions.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Pray continually. Now, Kevin recently wrote about prayer. As a matter of fact most of the Bible verses he used for that post can be used here again.
Look at Colossians 1:3-4…
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you…
Have not stopped praying for you.
Get the point? Question: As Christians, if we are praying continually, and have not stopped praying, why do we need ANY designation of a prayer day. Shouldn’t we be pushing each other to make everyday a prayer day? I would much rather prefer that, than having a single day listed as prayer day. Why not lay claim to every day of every year as a prayer day?
Now, don’t get me wrong. The National Day of Prayer is a good thing. We should take advantage of something afforded to us. It is a good reason for churches to come together and give focused prayer, a reason for us to be outspoken for Christ’s sacrifice for us. But do we really need this legislation to make that happen? I guess the bigger question is, given the fact that there is a very real possibility that the National Day of Prayer is over ruled by the Supreme Court, what do we do then? Do we lose our reason to come together as the body of Christ for focused prayer? Do we lose an excuse to be outspoken for Christ?
“But Robert”…some of you will say…”aren’t you worried that losing the National Day of Prayer is just another example of the attempt to remove God from everything?” No, I am not. Because the government…as hard as it wants to try, cannot remove God from my heart. And removing the national day of prayer does not prevent me from praying continually, to not stop praying for others or being outspoken for Christ. I don’t need the government to tell me it is okay to pray today…I know that already…do you?