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National Prayer

National Prayer

Editor’s note: Today, May 5th, is the National Day of Prayer in the United States. Join us as we humble ourselves (2 Chronicles 7:14) seeking God’s face together in prayer.

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I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. — 1 Timothy 2:1–2 NIV

America’s leaders first called this nation to prayer in 1775. The Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom as they worked to form a nation, and the call to prayer has continued throughout our nation’s history. The National Day of Prayer was organized in 1952 to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders. It continues to stand as a call for us to humbly come before God for our nation.

The idea of praying for people in government didn’t originate with America. The apostle Paul called the Jews to pray for their Roman rulers and oppressors. He urged the Christian community to not only pray for the Roman leaders who were persecuting them, but to pray for blessings on them. Paul also called the believers to pray for the leaders with thanksgiving so that peace might reign.

Are you praying for blessings for America’s leaders, local and national, even those you disagree with?

God, I don’t always agree with our leaders, but I do desire peace in our land. So help me to do as Paul urged and pray faithfully. Amen.

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Day of Trouble

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! — Psalm 20:1 NASB

Unemployment, wars, terrorism, natural disasters, leaders’ poor decisions — times are hard. But as our older relatives will tell us, hard times are nothing new. Flip through old family photo albums or history books, and see how difficult life was. Against the background of diseases, droughts, and financial depression, we see men and women of deep and abiding faith.

Turn in the Bible to the book of Psalms. There we hear the cries of God’s people in times of trouble. We also hear echoes of our own frustration, our own fears, and our pleas for help from the only One who understands, the One who can best respond.

When the troubles of this world crash in around you, flip through the pages of that photo album to gain some perspective. Then open the Psalms and find words of encouragement and peace for your weary soul. God is faithful, He understands, and He hears your prayers.

God, thank You for believers in ages past who struggled in times of trouble yet held fast to their faith. Help me to be able to hold fast to my faith. Amen.

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Listen Carefully

I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly. — Psalm 85:8 NKJV

It’s been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth to show us that we ought to listen twice as much as we talk. Some people do a better job of this than others. We have no trouble meeting our quota for talking, but when it comes to listening — to truly listening and to listening twice as much as we talk — we struggle.

We would do well not only to apply this 2:1 ratio to our conversations, but also to our prayer conversation with God. When we think of prayer, we think about what we want to say. When we seek instruction for how to pray, we focus on what we say to God. Far less frequently are we reminded that we need to listen.

  • Knowing His written Word will help us recognize His voice; choosing to ask for the Spirit’s guidance will help us listen and obey.

Key to all of this is making time to shut out the world. When we are still, we will have an easier time hearing God’s voice and, at the same time, experiencing the peace of His presence with us.

God, help me to work toward that 2:1 ratio and make a concerted effort to hear Your voice, listen, and obey. Amen.

Excerpted with permission from 365 Devotions for Peace by Cheri Cowell, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

Today is a great day to pray! Even if it’s just for a few minutes, take a break and pray. Ask the Lord for His wisdom, guidance, and direction. Ask Him for peace, hope, and encouragement. Ask Him for revival, for Him to pour out His Holy Spirit afresh upon us, and for us to welcome obedience and humility. Ask Him for unity and kindness, generosity and humanity. Come share with us what else we should be praying for on National Day of Prayer! We want to hear! ~ Devotionals Daily

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