Have you ever felt, like I have, that the great number of things there are to pray about in life almost prevents you from praying at all? There are family members, personal character flaws, circumstances at home or work, unsaved loved ones, third-world countries, illnesses, ministries, marriages - the list goes on and on. I can just picture the enemy rubbing his hands together with glee, having successfully made me feel overwhelmed to the point of not praying.
In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, God makes it pretty clear that He wants us to pray for those in leadership over us - it's a command not a suggestion. But it comes with a wonderful promise: that we will be able to live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and holiness, because God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth!
So as overwhelming as it might seem to pray for a whole nation, it's good to be reminded that God intends to answer my prayers.
Today is our nation's 58th National Day of Prayer. On January 1, 1795, George Washington used the following words to call for a national day of prayer and fasting:
It is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue to confirm the blessings we experienced. Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation…
Washington’s proclamation went on to request a list of items that Americans could pray for:
- that God would continue to prolong His blessings on the young nation.
- that God would imprint on American hearts a solemn sense of our obligations to Him.
- that God would preserve us from the arrogance that accompanies prosperity.
- that Americans would continue to merit God’s favor by not abusing it.
- that our nation would develop the habits of sobriety, order, morality and piety.
(from the Presidential Prayer Team)