By presidential proclamation and congressional action, today, the first Thursday in May, is the National Day of Prayer. It is a time when devout Americans offer individual and collective prayers for divine aid and protection of their country.
In a society steeped in materialistic values, it probably sounds quite corny and even ridiculous. We the people, after all, are so advanced, so sophisticated, so much wiser than our Founders, who were never so big they could not drop to their knees and call for help from On High.
Besides the political heritage our forebears gave us, they bequeathed to us a spiritual legacy. A quick look back is in order:
As the Colonies’ relationship with the Mother Country began deteriorating and a clash of arms loomed larger, the First Continental Congress called for prayer on Sept. 6, 1774. The Congress also appointed a chaplain to open its deliberations with prayers to the Almighty. Bear in mind that the Boston Tea Party was a fresh memory, and Great Britain’s objectionable taxation and military buildup were all too real for a people who had fled tyranny across the sea.
After war broke out with the shots heard ’round the world at Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress felt impelled to seek favor from On High. On June 12, 1775 — just days before the Battle of Bunker Hill — the Congress set July 20 of that year as “a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.”
The Second Continental Congress followed up by calling for a day of fasting on March 16, 1776. That was not all. Two months later, the body that represented the first American national government called for another somber day.
“The Congress ... impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty ... Do earnestly recommend Friday, the 17th day of May be observed by the colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess ... our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease God’s righteous displeasure, and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain this pardon and forgiveness.”
Is this politically correct and “in” today?
I never cease to be amazed at the accounts of people who, while claiming to be too mature to believe in a Supreme Deity, usually change their minds if or when their end is in sight.
I remember a World War II veteran telling how, in the Battle of the Bulge, some of his comrades who previously had no need or use for God suddenly began praying as German 88s began dropping around them.
What about you? If you knew you may have only a few seconds to live, would your attitude and thinking change?
Also, if the life of your country — along with its liberty and the blessings you enjoy — could come to a sudden end very shortly, would your attitude and thinking change speedily? It’s worth thinking about.