Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, May 01, 2008

National Day of Prayer

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I wonder how many people know that today is the National Day of Prayer. Do people know that the first call to prayer was in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation? The call to prayer has continued through American history, including President Lincoln's proclamation of a day of "humiliation, fasting, and prayer" in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual, national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.

So today, as Americans, we are being called on to take a moment and send a petition to our God, no matter what faith, religion or creed we claim membership in. It has been suggested that people could pray for leadership in these seven areas: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church, and Family.

As a woman who believes in a loving God and that He cares for all of His children, there is no doubt in my mind that when people band together in prayer, miracles can happen. And with the problems that our nation is now facing, sending up a prayer to God to help us face and solve these problems certainly couldn't hurt. Especially if you look at the seven suggested areas to pray for—--our government that is getting ready to select a new president, our military that is engaged in a war that sends thousands of our young men and women across the world to defend our freedoms, businesses and education programs that are struggling, the list goes on and on. But, really, I think the last one listed is one of the most important. When we have a strong family I believe we are better able to deal with trials, and we can rear children that grow into young men and women who are ready to make a difference, to do something good in this land we've been blessed to live in.

Late last Sunday night, my husband and I were horrified to see a large orange fireball behind our house and we hurried out to see what was happening. When we turned the corner, we saw the home of one of our neighbors, people that we are friends with, going up in flames. The fire was licking at the roof and pouring out of the windows and we crept around the emergency personnel, hoping to catch a glimpse of the family, to see that they were all right. We finally saw paramedics working on the mother of the home, who had collapsed in the street when she saw her home in flames, but her husband and daughter were by her side and they were unharmed. It broke my heart to see the suffering, however. You see, this family worked hard to gain the privilege of immigrating to the U.S. from South America, and they came here with almost nothing. They have given everything they have to build a humble life for themselves, and are one of the closest families I know. They are happy and sweet, the kind of people that always greet you with a smile. They've known hardship, they've known pain, but they've persevered and they would be the first to tell you how blessed they are to be living the American dream.

What amazed me Sunday night was the number of people who poured out of their homes in support and offered blankets, food, and a place to stay to this family. It was obvious that this family had touched many people with the way they lived their lives. And I believe there were many prayers sent heavenward that night, that this family would recover and receive the help necessary to get through this.

That, to me, is part of what this National Day of Prayer is about—--we, as Americans, are like this little family. We are all from different places, we all have chosen different goals and dreams, but in the end, we all come together to be part of this nation. So, if you pray today, perhaps you could pray that we, as a nation, will receive the help we need and that, individually, we will be able to touch someone else's life for good. That somehow, we can make a difference.

I think we are continuing what the Continental Congress asked for in 1775. They asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, and today, I think we are being asked to pray for wisdom for ourselves and our leaders in keeping this nation strong.

A little prayer could make a big difference---whether it's in your own life or the life of another, and since Americans have been given a special day to pray on, I hope you take advantage of it.


At 5/02/2008 11:09 AM, Blogger Jennie said...

Julie, you made some excellent points about prayer. Many people scoff at the idea of a national day of prayer, but I've always liked the concept of national recognition of God's hand in the affairs of our nation.

At 5/02/2008 11:30 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

I need a new calendar. I have it circled but, um, next Monday. Do you think my prayers will still count if they're late?

Loveley blog, as always. That poor family! It makes me want to send them . . . everything.

At 5/02/2008 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jennie, I agree totally, and Kerry, prayers always count. :)

Thankfully that little family's home wasn't a complete loss and they have found another place to live while it is repaired. But I know exactly how it feels to want to send them everything.

Thanks for the comments! I'm glad someone reads my blog. :)


At 5/02/2008 4:11 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Um, my calendar says National Day of Prayer is May 5, next Monday too. I guess that gives us two shots at it.

At 5/02/2008 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The National Day of Prayer is the first Thursday in May so that would have been yesterday. Weird that your calendar has it differently. :)


At 5/02/2008 8:37 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

It is odd about the calendars. Fortunately, according to the task force's web site, the Global Day of Prayer is May 11. There's still hope for us, Jennie!

Julie: I kinda suspected that it might count anyway. :)

At 5/03/2008 12:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure the prayers will count anyway---especially yours Kerry. ;)



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