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How to pray for America

By: Landon T. Copley
for Carter County Times

National Day of Prayer is a long-standing tradition from 1775 when the first Continental Congress called for a day of prayer as they began the work of forming a nation. Nearly 200 years later in 1952, Congress passed a joint resolution and President Harry Truman signed into law an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Ronald Reagan, declaring the official date as the first Thursday of every May. Now every year, thousands of Christians gather on the first Thursday in May for National Day of Prayer. 

As May 6 draws near, we should reflect on this question: Why should Christians pray for America? First, it is our duty to pray. Christians are exhorted in 1 Thess. 5:18 to “pray without ceasing.” Second, it is how we conform to the will of God. Jesus told us to pray this like, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Third, prayer is one of the ways that we live out the greatest commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Finally, prayer is action. When we witness certain experiences in our nation in which we feel helpless about, prayer is our action. When Daniel found his life hanging in the balance before a mighty King, he put his helpless situation in God’s hands through prayer. 

Now that we have established that we should pray, the next question must be: How can we pray? Of course, there are many ways in which we could pray for our country, but below are seven ways in which we can pray for our nation following the seven centers of influence within America. 

Government: First, we must pray for our government. As we pray for our leaders, we not only need to pray for those on the federal level, but also those in our state and local governments. Let us pray not only for the president and congressional leaders but also for our governor, state representatives, mayor, and city council. We must also not forget our first responders. 

Military: Second, let us pray for our military. Those who serve in the military need us to pray for their courage and their dependence upon God. These men and women, and their families, experience hardship that many know nothing of. Let us, therefore, pray for their perseverance and for God’s divine protection over them. May we remember their families who also sacrifice for our nation, and certainly those who have paid the ultimate price. 

Media: Third, we must lift in prayer to God the media arts. Media is one of the greatest influences of our nation today; thus, we must pray that this influence is used in a manner that is glorifying to God. May we ask God to bring success to media with creative ideas that bring forth Judeo-Christian principles. Pray that celebrities would recognize their profound influence and use it as a tool for propagate life-giving messages to their followers. 

Business: Fourth, we must pray for businesses. May we pray for Christian business owners, that their integrity would stand out as salt to the world. We should also pray for Christian workers to display Christ-like humility toward their co-workers. Ask God that he would give opportunities for employers and employees to share the love of Jesus Christ with their customers. 

Education: Fifth, we must pray for our schools. As you bow your head in prayer over these coming weeks, pray for our school staff to receive wisdom to make right decisions, handle difficult situations, and give our students the best possible education. Moreover, pray for students to receive the wisdom that they too would make good decisions, develop healthy relationships, focus on what’s important, and rightly use the knowledge that they gain for their growth as individuals. 

Church: Sixth, let us pray for the church. We must pray that the words and deeds of those within the church might be for the glory of God alone. Secondarily, we must pray that our community churches would develop a new zeal for the mission and purpose of Jesus Christ. May we continue to pray for unity, that despite any secondary or tertiary differences, the Olive Hill community churches would come together to advance the Gospel. Finally, pray for the church’s holiness and integrity, as we serve as a beacon of light to a dark world. 

Family: Finally, let us pray for our families. Let us pray that our country would return to family values that once served this nation. May we pray that broken relationships would be made whole. Also, pray that families would return to the biblical mandate to train their children in the fear of the Lord. Finally, pray that families would reach out in hospitality toward neighbors for the sake of the Gospel. 

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As you pray for our country in these seven areas of influence, think about these words from Thomas Lye. He said, “I had rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.” I humbly ask that you join many other Christians across this nation in praying for America. 

Please also consider joining us for a community prayer service. The pastors and community churches invite you to join us on Thursday, May 6th at the J.A. Raybourn City Park (Olive Hill City Park) at noon. We will be joined by the West Carter High School JROTC led by SFC D.J. Buschman and the West Carter High School band led by Mr. J.L. Hylton. May we gather publicly to pray extraordinarily for the next great spiritual awakening in our country, looking forward in hope to the Day of Jesus Christ knowing that “our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). 

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