In a few days, millions of Americans across all 50 states will gather in churches, local businesses, the steps of city halls, schools, neighborhoods and public gathering places for a day of public prayer for the United States of America. In one voice, they will lift their single prayer request: unity in America.
Thursday, May 3, is the National Day of Prayer. It will be the 30th annual observance since President Ronald Reagan signed the amended law designating the first Thursday of May as a day of national prayer. The observance was first created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.
Ronnie Floyd the President of the National Day of Prayer Task Force shares why he believes this day is pivotal for America.
“I cannot think of another moment more appropriate for America to come together and pray for unity in our nation. We are living through a crucial time in our country’s history. If we do not find the resolve to come together and confront the issues fracturing our communities and dividing our country, we will not find the peace and healing we desperately need. One thing is clear: politics will not heal us, and government will not fix us. We need a massive prayer movement that will lead us back to God and bring healing to our land.”
In the evening, Floyd will lead the National Observance, to be held at 7:30 p.m. in the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. In attendance will be some members of Congress as well as hundreds of American faith leaders.
In tune with this year’s theme — “Pray for America: Unity” — the National Observance will bring together a multiethnic, cross-denominational coalition of participants. Among these are Pastor Ronnie Floyd, speaker and actress Priscilla Shirer, Rev. Sammy Rodriguez, Rev. H.B. Charles Jr. and Rep. Mark Walker, who co-chairs the Congressional Prayer Caucus. The renowned Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers will lead the evening’s worship set.
Mrs. Shirley Dobson, National Day of Prayer chairman emeritus reflects on the meaning of the day.
“We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”
The evening program will include a special interview moderated by Floyd with Pastor Frank and Sherri Pomeroy of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Pastor Frank and wife Sherri were thrust into the national spotlight last November when a shooter walked into the church’s Sunday morning service and opened fire, killing 26 people — including children — and injuring 20 more. The Pomeroys’ 14-year-old daughter was among those killed that morning. The Pomeroys will share about their and their church’s journey of faith since that day.
This year’s National Day of Prayer theme is “Pray for America: Unity.” The theme is anchored in Ephesians 4:3, “Making every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” It calls Americans to pray for unity in their churches, communities, cities and the country.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:2-5
Gather to pray. Ask your small group, friends, classmates or ministry to get together and pray on May 3. It might be in the morning to start your day, at lunch or in the evening. Take turns sharing requests and praying for one another. Dedicate time to praying for unity for the country. Rotate praying for different leaders. The National Day of Prayer website has lots of great resources to guide your time including a sheet to walk you through praying for unity for the United States. Even if others aren’t able to physically get together, gather with others in spirit by tuning into the National Day of Prayer on Daystar or on their Facebook page.
Pray for our country. Read through Ephesians 4 this week and reflect on it. Ask God for unity in the United States. Pray for our country’s leaders in all the areas of leadership including government, faith, entertainment, and business. Pray that these leaders would come to know Christ in a personal way. Pray for believers in these sectors that they would take a stand for their faith, that God would give them favor amongst their colleagues and that they would be able to use their platform for Christ.
Be a catalyst for unity. Unity must start with ourselves. If you have hurt someone with your words or actions, be willing to humble yourself and ask for forgiveness. Similarly, if someone has hurt you, let them know. Often, when someone offends us, rather than try to resolve the situation, we avoid the person or cut the relationship off. God wants us to be unified as a body of Christ. You don’t have to be best friends with the person, but be willing to have a conversation and hopefully resolve the conflict.