Nationally recognized for her decades of work on behalf of women and the family, Shirley Dobson doesn’t show signs of slowing down. Since 1991, Dobson has faithfully served as chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a role she continues to relish.
Speaking with BGEA by phone a few weeks ago, Dobson discussed the importance of the May 3 observance and why praying for our nation is so crucial. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out our interview.
Q:/ Can you tell us about this year’s National Day of Prayer?
Dobson: We have a wonderful theme this year, “One Nation Under God,” which is based on Psalm 33:12. It reminds us that “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” All across this nation, there will be prayer gatherings at court houses, capital buildings and state parks. We have 50 private pilots flying their planes over each capital, so every state will be covered in prayer.
We have so much to be in prayer about this year and I want to encourage everyone to have a prayer gathering, either attend one in your community or you can have one in your home. Have a BBQ and invite your neighbors over—and pray for the different centers of power throughout our nation.
Coming up on this election, we need to be praying for righteous men and women to be elected to office. The Lord has always been the centerpiece of our nation and we’re beginning to turn our backs on that, unfortunately, and we are paying the consequences for it. We are losing a lot of our religious liberties.
Q:/ Franklin Graham was the honorary chairman in 2010. Who is serving this year?
Dobson: Dr. David Jeremiah—esteemed author, founder of Turning Point Ministries and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church––is serving as the 2012 Honorary Chairman of the NDP Task Force. He will give the keynote address at the National Observance in Washington, D.C., at the Cannon House Office Building.
We were so honored to have Franklin as our chairperson in 2010; he did an outstanding job. Also, Billy Graham was the first honorary chairperson in 1952. It was such a blessing. He spoke in Washington, D.C. at the prayer gathering.
Q:/ Why is prayer so crucial?
Dobson: Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing. God wants a personal, intimate relationship with us and prayer is one of His greatest gifts. If you think of it, we can communicate with the God of the universe through prayer.
This nation was birthed in prayer and the wisdom of the founding fathers, I believe, came from divine inspiration. We dare not abandon that relationship with our Creator now, especially when we are facing such troubling perils as a nation.
Our Congress in 1952 under President Truman, and then again in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan, gave us a National Day of Prayer, which is a wonderful blessing. And if we don’t go out and celebrate it and use this day, we could lose it.
There is so much to be praying about today. We need to pray for our national leaders, our families need prayer—they are in disarray—and we still have men and women whose lives are in jeopardy in Afghanistan and Iraq. Ultimately, prayer is the only hope for America.
God was going to destroy Nineveh because they were a wicked and perverse generation. Yet the people repented, humbled themselves, and prayed and asked for forgiveness and God said He changed His mind.
I feel, in many ways, America is like that. We are a wicked and perverse nation. The things that are going on in our nation today are appalling. I feel if we come together in humility and sincerity, repenting for our sins and crying for mercy that God will be gracious and He will answer our prayers.
This year, in particular, we can’t sit this one out. We have to be on our knees come May 3 and join together with our brothers and sisters all across the nation in prayer.
To learn more, or to find a National Day of Prayer event in your community, visit www.NationalDayofPrayer.org