O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.
The National Day of Prayer
Did you know it is law that a day is designated for prayer? “The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals. (Public Law 105-225)”
What a beautiful reminder of the intent and faith of the founders of this Nation. The 2017 theme is “For Your Great Name’s Sake! Hear Us… Forgive Us… Heal Us!” The theme is rooted in the scripture Daniel 9:19, which says, “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”
Hear Us. Forgive Us. Heal Us.
Daniel was truly a genuine man of prayer. His devotion and dedication are seen all throughout the book that bares his name. Many of us are familiar with the story Daniel and the Lions’ Den. Daniel was a man of influence and for that he was despised. His enemies plotted against him, even to death. Daniel broke the law of man to fulfill the law of God. Even when it was illegal, he continued in his fervent devotion to his daily prayers and it landed him in the lions’ den. By God’s grace, Daniel was saved from the lions and the prayer shared above is his prayer for the city and his people AFTER his persecution. WOW! Lord, help us to pray like Daniel.
When we look at people of great faith we may think, prayer comes so naturally to them why do I struggle praying? How should I pray? What do I say? Why doesn’t this come natural to me like such and such a person? Or maybe we think, I am too busy to set aside time to pray.
I believe Martin Luther said it best when commenting about prayer, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer”. It seems the more we fill our schedules, the busier we get, the more we truly need our time in prayer and devotion. Three hours is not feasible for me and it may not be possible for you, but our prayer and time of fellowship with God is the most important part of our day.
How then shall I pray? Our prayers to God usually consist of:
- Thanking and Praising (adoration)
- Asking for something
- Confessing to something
The model prayer was given to us by Jesus and is found in Matthew 6. It reads,
“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
We do not need some special insight into God’s word, or some special feelings or to be perfect to come to God in prayer. We only need one thing and that is trust in Jesus and His work on the cross. When He died, He took the punishment for our sins. That is all we need to know. If we have not set our feet in church for some time, that does not mean that we cannot pray. Instead we ought to pray that God will lead us to a community of people who can help us grow in our faith. At anytime we can come humbly to God knowing that Jesus is perfect and that is enough.
During this National Day of Prayer, we wanted to share some ideas on what we can pray for today and always.
Prayers for Marriage
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Father, thank you for marriage. Thank you for establishing a relationship where we are able to grow in love, patience and selflessness. This day I pray that you will help us to be a spouse that speaks life into our partner and our family. Remove selfishness from our agenda and actions. Help us to think of our spouse more than ourselves. Help us make decisions with integrity, wisdom and consideration for others. Lord, in our imperfections and weakness may we pick each other up and be an encouragement to one another. When temptation comes, may we feel the Holy Spirit and follow Your path away from sin. May our marriage be an encouragement to others, even when we stumble may our actions always bring glory to your Name.
Prayer for Children
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Father, thank you for blessing and trusting us to care for your child(ren). I pray that they will feel Your presence in their life everyday. That they will know You and they will relentlessly pursue a relationship with You. I pray that their little hearts will feel peace, hope and trust in You, even now. I pray that their deeds will come from a place of kindness and selflessness and that You will be in all that they do. May You guide and direct every step and bring them into Your calling and purpose for their lives. Protect them, strengthen them and guard their hearts.
Here is a very helpful link to an article that will help us pray and speak blessings over our children life: Seven Things to Pray for Your Children
Prayers for Community
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:1-4
Father, thank you for the people who dedicate their lives to the service of others. Today I pray for our community leaders. The government officials, the servicemen, policemen, firemen, (and women) doctors, teachers and pastors. I pray for all the people of influence who are tested and tried daily. I pray that You will keep them safe, give them wisdom, discernment and that they may walk in integrity. I pray for the lost, sick, lonely and hurting of our community. Help Your body of believers to be a shining light, an encourager and a helping hand to those in need. Help us to see beyond ourselves and to see the people who long to hear of the hope that is found in You. Let each of us be genuine and gentle with the lost and hurting. Help our hearts turn towards You, not only in our time of need but also in our time of abundance.
Prayers with Your Children
With every passing holiday or event I enjoy taking the time to impart into my children. Will you join me in praying with your children?
Here is a fun way to impart “finger” prayers in to their little hearts:
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Lord, in all things, hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and heal our hearts.
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