This year, as the 59th observance was marked on May 6, Franklin Graham joined Shirley Dobson, National Day of Prayer Chairman, in Washington, D.C. to urge people all over the United States to intercede on behalf of our country.
Prayer For Our Military
Doug Castle, a chaplain in the U.S. Army, was invited to pray for the military at the Cannon House service. “We’ve been at war for eight years – one of the longest in our history. So many lives are being changed. I have a desire to invoke the presence of God in our military and to ask for His blessing.”
Castle says there are many ways we can pray for our military, and one of the biggest needs is for the families of those serving in our armed forces. “These families are stressed out. Many of the soldiers are suffering from posttraumatic stress syndrome. Brain injuries are ruining lives. Suicide is climbing. We really need God’s intervention in the lives of the soldiers and their families.”
The theme of Castle’s prayer was “not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit.”
“We’ve tried with America’s might and power. We’ve made some progress, but it is now time for the spirit of God to move. God can do this one heart at a time.”
Prayer For Our Government
Congresswoman Michelle Bachman (Minnesota) is not only concerned for our nation as a public servant, but as a disciple of Christ. “Our country is undoubtedly under siege. As a Christian, I believe that author of our true liberty is Jesus. In the New Testament, we are told that ‘Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’
She aims to preserve this nation as the land originally founded on Christian principles. “We are seeing so much discrimination against Christians. Of course, a recent example of this is Franklin Graham’s dis-invitation to the Pentagon. Another was Tony Perkins’ (President of the Family Research Council) dis-invitation from Andrews Air Force Base,” she explained.
“The Christian faith was subscribed to by the founders of this country. They attribute the rise of the United States to the hand of God, who has blessed us. My prayer is that we hold on to that particular essence of America. It’s important to look to what made us great – our faith in God.”
No Hope Apart From Christ
Franklin Graham received a standing ovation from the crowd when he approached the podium to deliver the keynote address. He encouraged the audience to seek God for healing in our country. He delivered a message from Matthew 8, citing the parallels between America and the leprosy-ridden man who approached Jesus for healing.
“This man’s leprosy is a picture of our personal sin, and of our nation’s sinful condition. 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 Jesus Christ.”
Graham says 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.’
For Such a Time as This
Although the 2010 National Day of Prayer has passed, James Dobson, former president of Focus on the Family (and husband of Shirley Dobson), believes its impact will go the distance.
“Franklin Graham has had many opportunities to talk about the Gospel amid all the media attention we have received this year, and he does it with intensity, yet not with anger. He graciously gets the message out there,” said Dobson.
“Now, people are talking about prayer all over the country. Even just five years ago, people didn’t know very much about National Day of Prayer. I think that’s a divine thing.”
He also believes this year’s theme, For Such a Time as This, could not be timelier. “Many who are committed to Christ are concerned for our country, and most of those people have a spiritual basis for their concern. So, ‘for such a time as this,’ we are together to pray for our nation. This is why God called us, and that’s what we’re about.”