Annette R. Smith profile image

Praying for America and Her Leaders

Americans will observe a National Day of Prayer on May 1, 2014. The annual observance invites people of all faiths to pray for their nation and leaders.

The National Day of Prayer is May 1, 2014.
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The National Day of Prayer is May 1, 2014.

A National Observance

Every spring, millions of Americans observe a National Day of Prayer. Held on the first Thursday in May, the national observance invites people of all faiths to pray for their nation and leaders.

The prayer day task force encourages personal and corporate prayer in seven key areas: government, military, media, education, business, church, and family.

In a recent proclamation, President Barack Obama recognized the significance of prayer in American heritage. He noted examples in two notable leaders: President Abraham Lincoln and civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.

Obama urged Americans to "ask God for the sustenance to meet the challenges we face as a nation." He also paid tribute to the nation's Armed Forces "who have answered our country's call to serve with honor in the pursuit of peace."

A Tradition of Prayer

Each year, Congress calls on the President declare a national prayer day. The tradition began even before the nation's founding, with a proclamation by the Continental Congress in 1775.

A joint congressional resolution created the first official National Day of Prayer in 1952. President Harry Truman signed it into law.

In 1988, an amended version signed by President Ronald Reagan established the observance as the first Thursday in May. All 50 governors issue similar proclamations for their individual states.

The 2014 National Day of Prayer marks the 63rd annual observance. This year's theme is "One Voice United in Prayer," and the Scripture verse is Romans 15:6.

Anne Graham Lotz is the honorary chairman.
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Anne Graham Lotz is the honorary chairman.

Shirley Dobson, the wife of Family Life founder Dr. James Dobson, chairs the National Day of Prayer. Anne Graham Lotz -- called "the best preacher in the family" by her father, Billy Graham -- serves as the honorary chairman.

A Right and Responsibility

The earliest American settlers prayed they would "rejoice together, mourn together, labor, and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work."

Today, the National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. According to Shirley Dobson, the observance "transcends differences, bringing together citizens of all backgrounds."

The National Day of Prayer represents a Judeo-Christian expression of prayer, based on an understanding that America was forged in reverence for the God of the Bible. "The concepts and values of Judaism and Christianity are considered a basis for Western legal code and moral values," said the task force.

The national observance calls for Americans to humble themselves before God as they seek his grace and guidance. People are encouraged to pray for their national and local leaders, whether or not they agree with their politics.

Americans observe the National Day of Prayer in various ways. Some are strong "prayer warriors" during an election year. Election years are important times to pray, but prayer should extend beyond politics and annual observances.

The Bible says God blesses nations that keep his standards of righteousness and justice. Americans have a right and responsibility to pray for those who lead their nation.

Encouragement from Scripture

Just as prayer changes lives, it transforms nations. The National Day of Prayer encourages Americans to pray for their leaders, whether or not they agree with their politics.

To highlight the theme of "One Voice United in Prayer," the National Day of Prayer Task Force chose Romans 15:6 as the Scripture verse of the year: "So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The following Bible verses can also help Americans pray for the President, other government leaders, and members of the Armed Forces. They are taken from the New International Version (NIV) translation.

Prayer transforms lives and nations.
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Prayer transforms lives and nations.
Source: Free Christian Wallpapers
  • Psalm 33:12 -- "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance."
  • 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 -- "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
  • 1 Timothy 2:1-2 -- "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."
  • Psalm 91:2 -- "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

National Prayer Resources

  • A Presidential Proclamation from the White House declared a National Day of Prayer on May 2, 2013. This marked the 62nd observance of a national day to pray for America and her leaders.
  • The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday in May. While it represents a Judeo-Christian expression of prayer, it encourages Americans of all faiths to pray for their nation.

Charles Stanley, author of "Turning the Tide."
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Charles Stanley, author of "Turning the Tide."
  • The Presidential Prayer Team encourages Americans to pray for their government and military leaders. The ministry is based on a belief that "God rules over the affairs of men, and moves in response to [their prayers]."
  • In Touch Ministries is the Bible-teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. His book Turning the Tide: Real Hope, Real Change encourages Americans to pray for their nation and make a godly impact on the culture.

Your Turn

How will you observe the National Day of Prayer? Leave a comment below and join the discussion. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your social networks.

Reference Sources


© 2011 Annette R. Smith Last updated on April 25, 2014

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Comments 12 comments

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 3 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I think it was all political on Obama's part. That is okay though. He doesn't know the prayers of the righteous avail much and God turns the hearts of kings-and presidents-at will.

Insightful Hub.

Apostle Jack profile image

Apostle Jack 3 years ago from Atlanta Ga

I pray that they will turn to God for leadership,not to continue without His application of principals.

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 3 years ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Hyphenbird and Apostle Jack, thank you both for your comments. Unfortunately, the words spoken at prayer breakfasts and national observances don't always align with the words and deeds of our national leadership in other areas, especially in regard to what the Bible teaches.

But what a wonderful privilege we have to pray for our government and military leaders--and to know that God hears our prayers and can turn the tide at will.

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 2 years ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Happy National Day of Prayer! How did you observe the day?

 
teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago Level 8 Commenter

Annette, I thank you for reminding me of the importance of praying for our nation's leadership. No matter what they may believe, we have a duty to keep them in our prayers. Love your hub design and references. Blessings.

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 2 years ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Hello, teaches12345. It's a pleasure to meet you here! Thank you for reading "Praying for America and Her Leadership." Prayer is so important, especially during this moment in time. I appreciate your comments and encouragement. May the Lord richly bless your day!

celafoe profile image

celafoe 18 months ago from Planet earth. between the oceans Level 3 Commenter

Yes He wants us to pray aproprietly for our "leaders". And He provided scripture for each special situation. For BO and his cabinet and most of congress we need to Pray. as follows, using scripture

Ps 109:2-13

2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitfulHave opened against me;They have spoken against me with a lying tongue. 3 They have also surrounded me with words of hatred,And fought against me without a cause. 4 In return for my love they are my accusers,But I give myself to prayer. 5 Thus they have rewarded me evil for good,And hatred for my love.

6 Set a wicked man over him,And let an accuser stand at his right hand. 7 When he is judged, let him be found guilty,And let his prayer become sin. 8 Let his days be few,And let another take his office. 9 Let his children be fatherless,And his wife a widow. 10 Let his children continually be vagabonds, and beg;Let them seek their bread also from their desolate places. 11 Let the creditor seize all that he has,And let strangers plunder his labor. 12 Let there be none to extend mercy to him,Nor let there be any to favor his fatherless children. 13 Let his posterity be cut off,And in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

NKJV

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 18 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Hello, celafoe. Thank you for reading my article and posting a response. I appreciate the Bible passage, too. God does indeed have a Word for His enemies. In this crazy, mixed up world, as people grow farther away from God, I am comforted by His Word for believers: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31 NKJV). I hope those of us who are followers of Christ continue to pray for our nation. America needs our prayers.

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 16 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

"In His name the nations will put their hope" (Matthew 12:21) is the scripture verse for this year's National Day of Prayer. This month marks the 62nd annual observance of a national day of prayer in the United States. America needs our prayers!

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 4 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

Romans 15:6 is the Scripture verse for this year's National Day of Prayer: "So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The national observance is May 1, 2014.

tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 4 months ago from California Level 6 Commenter

Been trying all day to spend serious time praying for our country. Thanks for sharing this on FB and giving me direction. Judy

Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 4 months ago from San Antonio, Texas Hub Author

You're welcome, Judy. May your weekend be blessed and beautiful!

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