A National Day of Non Prayer

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May 6th has been designated as our National Day of Prayer. For many people it will simply slip by as they do business as usual. I have been thinking about that and decided I am willing to offer my birthday, July 1st, as our annual non day of prayer. Let us make a commitment to one day a year not pray for our nation. I am confident it will make a difference!
The following quotation from 2 Chronicles 7:14 has become very popular to recite.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”.

The two letters of Chronicles cover the period of Israel from its birth to the return from Babylonian captivity in the 6th Century BC.

A central figure is King David. The writer of Acts reminds us that David “had done the will of God in his own generation” (Acts 13:36). The faithfulness of teachers contribute to us being able to read. So too with David, his faithful serving of the Lord served future generations. Here we are some three thousand years later still talking about the man and his achievements. King David left a rich heritage and impressive legacy based on his desire to live out the will of God in his life and guide Israel in the ways of the Lord.

Most people would agree that they desire living life celebrating our common heritage. After all, we are the “land of the Free, and home of the Brave”. We speak of being “one nation under God”. As summer approaches, and BBQ’s light up, the words from 2nd Chronicles seem strangely distant. What “wicked ways” do I have to release, surrender and repent from? Isn’t that more for other people? Could I manage to live one day a year not asking for forgiveness? I could try, but I hope it will be very difficult.

After all, there is such power in prayer that as I pray daily, I discover I am able to walk in victory. It is so wonderful to awaken in the morning and run these lyrics through your mind; “Woke up this morning with my mind set on Jesus”. It will take a supreme effort to not sing that on July 1st!

Last week a Federal Judge ruled that for the government to declare a national day of prayer, was unconstitutional. In her ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb wrote, "the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual's decision whether and when to pray".

The judge is partly right, prayer can and does have a “powerful effect on a community.

We know that right?! Our vision and commitment to protect our heritage will hopefully extend beyond keeping BBQ’s fired up. Perhaps we can afford one day a year this year to not pray for what is coming at us. I am thinking of the two vacancies that will soon exist on the Supreme Court. The departure of Justice John Paul Stevens will see the last Protestant on the court. Justice David Souter has also informed the President of his intention to return to his native New Hampshire.

Currently, the court is composed of 6 Roman Catholics, 2 Jews, and Stevens. Do we really care, and does it matter what religious views our leaders have? I believe it does.
The great Reformer Martin Luther once said that, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk, then a foolish Christian”. There is a real irony that the Christian Conservatives in Germany have just appointed a woman of Turkish origin to being a government minister.

Her declaration to have all crosses removed from schools makes one wonder whether she is more “foolish then wise”.

Christians are not called to be, nor can we afford to be “foolish”. Wise Christians realize that, yes, perhaps one day a year we can ‘afford’ to not pray.
We would not want to go any longer would we?

The words of an early Israeli judge come to mind; “Decide this day whom you will serve…”(Joshua 24:15). This day is a good day to pray! The apostle Paul would agree that a “National Day of Prayer” is a thin spread of our “powerful effect”.

He urges us to, “Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5).

May that be our daily prayer. It will serve future generations well, and assure our Freedom.

PJ

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