Thursday, May 7, marked the National Day of Prayer, recognized in federal law as a day “on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”
President Barack Obama issued the annual proclamation late yesterday, while governors in every U.S. state followed suit today. Rep. Randy Forbes, founding co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, also worked with 56 Members of Congress to issue “An Open Letter to America on Prayer” today.
The presidential proclamation reads in part: “In the face of tremendous challenges, prayer is a powerful force for peace, justice, and a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow… When we pray, we are reminded that we are not alone – our hope is a common hope, our pain is shared, and we are all children of God.”
According to the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a nonprofit group that mobilizes prayer nationwide and promotes the annual observance, more than 43,000 prayer gatherings will occur across America today on this its 64th year.
Nearly one million people worldwide tuned in online this morning to the National Observance in Washington, DC – seeking inspiration, direction from faith leaders, and prayer points to carry to local meetings.
Many leading voices on the four-hour broadcast called for personal repentance, along with prayers of faith for religious liberty to be upheld; particular notice was given to the court case regarding the definition of marriage, currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Hosted in the Cannon Building across the street from the U.S. Capitol, the national observance tends to be a flashpoint for media. At last year’s event, Dr. James Dobson called President Barack Obama “the abortion president”; because the talk radio host’s wife Shirley Dobson has served as chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force since 1991, news headlines followed.
This year, President Obama was only mentioned as prayers were offered on his behalf for wisdom and God’s favor. Media coverage has instead focused on the presence of Dr. Ben Carson, who was invited to deliver remarks many months before the announcement of his candidacy for president on Monday.
Carson, an esteemed neurosurgeon, largely shared anecdotes from his life growing up in Baltimore – centered on the character lessons his mother instilled in him. “My mother was a prayer warrior,” he said. “She believed God was the answer to any problem… including having to raise my brother and I by herself.”
“Remember that woman you saw on the news, who went out and got her son from the riot? That was my mother,” said Carson.
“She prayed,” he recalled. “That’s the wonderful thing about God – you don’t need to have a Ph.D. to talk to Him, you just need to have faith.”
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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Josh M. Shepherd