President Reagan did it. So did Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Bush. President Obama did not do it. Today, President Trump is doing it again. But you won’t hear about it in the media much – if at all. It has happened every year in May for 66 years. Most presidents – though not all – make a pretty big deal out of it.
The media is covering President Trump’s budget deal, his comments about the government needing a “good shutdown,” his plans for the border wall, and pretty much every tweet he puts out at five in the morning. But they aren’t covering this – even though it is important to a huge part of the country.
What is it that President Trump is doing today?
He is participating in the National Day of Prayer.
Despite President Obama’s reticence to embrace a National Day of Prayer, such an event is consistent with our American heritage. George Washington said, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”
On April 17, 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the annual observance of a National Day of Prayer, ordering that it must be declared by each subsequent president at a day of his choosing. President Reagan, 36 years later, designated the first Thursday of May as National Day of Prayer.
Today, over 35,000 prayer gatherings will be conducted by about 40,000 volunteers across the United States. According to TimeAndDate.com, “several million people are expected to participate in this call to prayer.”
Why do we need a National Day of Prayer? Historian David Barton offers four reasons. First, God tells us to pray (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Second, God answers prayer (Matthew 21:22). Third, God honors prayer and turns his attention to those who pray. Fourth, prayer changes those who pray.
I love what the aging Benjamin Franklin said at the Constitutional Convention. Standing to his feet, he pondered whether the assembly still desired to depend on God as they did in the beginning of the revolutionary movement. Franklin stated, “And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? I have lived a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without this aid?”
Ronald Reagan was right when he said, “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
Sunday, Beth and I attended the First Baptist Church of Dallas. Pastor Robert Jeffress mentioned that he would be with the President on Thursday for the National Day of Prayer. I suggest that is one time when we should all be with our President – the National Day of Prayer.
So find a prayer gathering near you. By hosting the Washington, D.C. National Day of Prayer, President Trump is doing what we would hope all presidents would do – whether the media shows up or not.