It’s eerie to walk into church on the National Day of Prayer. The place is normally bustling, serving dozens if not hundreds of people most every day. But today it’s quiet; soft and soundless. Not in a creepy, unnerving sort of way, but almost reverent; respectful; like even the people who work here are differing their normal conversations to an acquiescent hush and honor.
I walk into the expansive, upstairs room designated as a central gathering place of prayer for the community and I’m given a small, discreet packet full of material: From a short historical background of the National Day of Prayer to suggestions and outlines of prayer opportunities for our nation, our families and our community. I was happy to see this and it was most helpful because, in all honesty, I had no clue what I was doing.
If I may get a little personal and transparent here: I’m not a devoted pray-er. My wife? That’s another story. We’ll often be talking about a certain situation going on in our family, or our home group; decisions that need to be made, priorities that need to be set, and so on, and she’s the type of person who stops in the middle of our discussion and says, “You know what? We need to pray about this.” Then she grabs my hands and we do. Right then! It’s maddening! Not because we ALWAYS need to pray about stuff in her eyes (which we do), but that I didn’t think to do it as well. I’m just not wired that way . . . yet.
So, this National Day of Prayer, and being personally involved in it?
Wwwwaayyyy out of my comfort zone.
As I look through the material, I’m struck by the thoroughness and breadth of prayer suggestions held within; prayers for our government, military and churches as well as our business community, educational community, the media, and of course, our families. What also strikes me is the non-judgmental tone of the prayers.
“Pray for our local, state, and national leaders. Ask God to grant them wisdom, discernment, and hearts that are open to His leading.”
I can do that.
“Pray for God to grant courage, protection, and strength for our Military and their families.”
I can do that, too.
Before I knew it, an hour had gone by and I’d prayed. I. Had. Prayed. The funny thing was that even I felt better. Prayer is a praise to God; a thank offering; and a request for supplication—either for ourselves or someone we love, know, or are concerned about. And in praying for our leaders, our military, my family and community, I felt rejuvenated within my own walk, and I hadn’t even asked for anything toward myself. It was as if God went, “Thank you for your concern. I’m aware of all those needs, and the voices of all those who are asking in unison with you. And here’s a little something for you as well.”
I may try this praying stuff again sometime soon. After all, another handy item in the material I was given was a 40-day prayer guide for family and nation. How convenient is that?
It was like they knew . . .