One day, in a place where Jesus had just finished praying, one of His disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
So Jesus told them, “When you pray say:
‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation'” (Luke 11:1-4 BSB).
Previous to this instruction, Jesus instructed, “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites and when you pray, shut your door and pray to your Father who is unseen, as well as, when you pray, do not babble on like pagans” (Matthew 6:5-7).
Jesus prayed and anticipated his followers would pray. Throughout scripture, prophets and apostles exhorted the people they served to specifically pray for their city, nation, or people in leadership.
"Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace" (Jeremiah 29:7 NKJV).
"I will bring them to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on My altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations” (Isaiah 56:7 BSB).
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV).
On Thursday, May 4, the Church in America has the opportunity to observe the National Day of Prayer. Though presidents and government officials called for national days of prayer or thanksgiving periodically in American history, US Congress proclaimed a National Day of Prayer to be regularly observed since the early 1950s and it was later moved to the first Thursday in May of each year.
Since the late 1980s, the National Day of Prayer has been promoted as a day for many different faiths to join in prayer. Online websites tout it as an interdenominational prayer event. To be clear, the day has unmistakably Judeo-Christian roots and its meaning and effect is fruitful as we pray fervently in righteousness to a living God who hears. Because of such a clear connection, the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer was unsuccessfully challenged in court by the Freedom from Religion Foundation but dismissed by a federal appellate court ruling in April 2011. We have the RIGHT to practice faith in a God who hears us.
On Thursday, May 4, we have a God-given opportunity to participate in nationwide corporate prayer. This year’s theme, provided by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, quotes James 5:16b, “THE EFFECTIVE FERVENT PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN AVAILS MUCH.”
Father in Heaven, let it be so. Amen.
For more information including tips about how to pray for America: https://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/about