Since before the founding of the United States we have had national days of prayer. The pilgrims and puritans, Baptists and Roman Catholics all took time to call on God. Thanks for crops (Thanksgiving), times of disease, war (Washington, Lincoln and FDR to mention only three wartime presidents), elections (this used to be every election, I say we need to bring this one back) and thanksgiving for deliverance after some disaster or war. All of these were prompts for national days of prayer.
These cries were rooted in an understanding that the world is a big, confusing and dangerous place. We are not sufficient to walk through it alone. The Hubris of the American Empire seemed to get balanced with well we did not see that coming. All of us would do well to exercise a little humility with the founders of this great country. They said in one of their first legislative actions “Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged”.
Today we believe that neither religion, morality nor education are necessary to good government and days of prayer have slipped from the national consciousness. They are there, they are pronounced but only a few participate. There are no civics classes, morality is the freedom to do whatever you want to do and a falling number attend church more than twice a year.
What is the solution? To wring our hands and think of the good old days when the Beaver and his family feared God?
I think not. What we need is to have a personal day of prayer and reflection followed by a National Day of Prayer. The Bible says if my people (the church) who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways (not complain about the wicked) then I will I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
We have an epidemic. We need healing. We need not to blame others. We need to pray, humble, seek and repent (stop our sinning). We need these because we need God to hear and forgive and heal.
These are the elements of a National Day of Prayer.