At thousands of locations across the United States, people gathered yesterday to pray for the nation. Prayer breakfasts, Bible reading marathons, concerts of prayer, rallies, church prayer vigils, student flagpole gatherings and observances held in sports stadiums are among the kinds of events that typically take place on the National Day of Prayer each year.
“Taking a stand for our country begins by going to our knees in prayer before Almighty God,” Franklin Graham posted on Facebook yesterday. “Today is the #NationalDayofPrayer, and for the past 71 years, Christians across our country have gathered on this day to ask God for His help. Our country is in trouble—we’re in a free fall, morally and spiritually. We need to pray for our families, schools, churches, law enforcement, military, judges, and our political leadership in Washington. I hope you’ll join me in asking God to intervene and turn the heart of this nation back to Him. We also need to pray for world leaders, and for an end to the deadly conflict in Ukraine.”
The National Day of Prayer is held annually on the first Thursday in May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.
The National Day of Prayer Task Force suggests that people pray for seven “centers of influence” in the nation: Government (federal, state and local), Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.
This year’s theme was “Exalt the Lord Who Has Established Us,” taken from Colossians 2:6-7.
The National Prayer for America says in part: “Lord, You have established America through the hearts of our founding fathers and the documents they penned declaring our dependence on Your sovereignty and supremacy.”
The Graham family has been part of the National Day of Prayer for many years. Billy Graham served as the honorary chair in 2001, Franklin Graham in 1999 and 2010, Anne Graham Lotz in 2014 and Will Graham in 2020.
In 2010, during Franklin’s National Day of Prayer keynote address at the Cannon House Office Building, he noted the parallels between America and the account in Matthew 8 of a man with leprosy who came to Jesus for healing.
“This man’s leprosy is a picture of our personal sin and of our nation’s sinful condition,” Franklin said. “The only hope this man had for healing was the Lord Jesus Christ. Like this man, we have no hope for our nation, and no hope for ourselves apart from the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Franklin added that like this man, America needs a touch from the Lord. “My prayer for this nation is: ‘Lord, if You’re willing, make this nation whole again. May we turn to You and worship You and acknowledge You.’”
In addition to the many local prayer gatherings across the country throughout the day, a National Day of Prayer Broadcast aired last night, May 5, at 8 p.m. Eastern, on a number of television and radio networks. It was also streamed on the National Day of Prayer Task Force website, the National Day of Prayer Facebook page and the Pray.com Facebook page. Guests included Ed Young, Anne Graham Lotz, Allen Jackson, Nick Hall, Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, Paul Han, Skip Heitzig, Jack Graham, Chris Tomlin, Ronnie Floyd, Joni Eareckson Tada, Lecrae, Mike Kai and Matthew West.
Photo: Elizabeth Masoner/Alamy