2002-05-01 - National Day of Prayer
Psalm 28:6 Blessed be the Lord, because He has heard the voice of my supplication.
As many of you know Thursday, May 2, 2002 is the National Day of Prayer. You may also remember that I am not a huge observer of days other than the 52 days I get a year and call Lord's Day. However, if I had to add a day and pick one I would like to support, it would be a day of prayer. There is a longstanding tradition of days of prayer in our nation and in many other nations.
Historically nations have been called to prayer for either thanksgiving or humiliation. When God sent an earthquake, a great storm, or a great illness upon the people, they would be called together to observe a day of humiliation or contrition. The idea being that God must be displeased with them, and they were called to search their hearts and call upon the Lord. In a similar manner, if the harvest was bountiful or if the people had won a great victory in battle, they would be called together for a day of thanksgiving to the Lord for His blessings. The central theme in both was that there was an understanding that it was God who blessed and God who acted in judgment upon His people when He was displeased.
Prayer is so important to our lives. In prayer we can pour out our hearts, tell the Lord our desires, and renew our strength. In prayer we lay our burdens at our Savior's feet. Agustus Toplady once wrote, "The longer you are with God on the mount of private prayer, and secret communion with him, the brighter will your face shine when you come down." This is the nature of prayer. It is sweet communion with Christ. How wonderful a thought that we still take a day and set it aside for prayer. It would be wonderful if there were more days of prayer, but in some respects, it is amazing that this one day has not also fallen to the false gods of political correctness.
True prayer is like an application to the only one who can grant us acceptance. It is the admission of sin to the only one who can forgive sin. It shows our poverty and need. It teaches us humility. It reminds us of the confidence we have in the God of truth. I know I have said it before, but prayer that is pleasing to the Lord is not always the eloquent prayer.
Recall the prayer of the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 18:9-17. The prayer of the Pharisee was rejected because it was offered in pride. However, the prayer of the publican was granted because, while simple, it was offered in contrition and humility, with the simple words "God be merciful to me, the sinner!" God hears the prayers of those whose hearts are seeking Him. So let us seek to seek Him each day, but even more, in a special manner, this coming Thursday.
"In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart." John Bunyan
Soli Deo Gloria,