You Have a Right to Pray

Despite all the rhetoric and legal rantings and railings, the 59th Annual National Day of Prayer took place last Thursday, May 6.   The theme was Prayer for Such a Time as This.  

That’s a good thing.  Is there a person among us who can dispute the need for prayer in our country?

Maybe so.  Because the National Day of Prayer certainly sparked plenty of dispute:


“Too all-inclusive!”

“Too exclusive!”

How come I don’t get to stand at the podium?”


Okay, I’ll admit right up front that back in high school and college I was an avid member of the debate team.  Maybe that helps explain my knee-jerk reaction.  At any rate, here are my thoughts:

  1. No one can truly legislate prayer.  We either do it or we don’t.
  2. No one can stop us from praying, not anywhere or at any time.  Not at school or in the workplace or in a divisive home or anywhere else.  After all, prayer is between an individual and God.  Who else would even know?
  3. It is wonderful for a nation to collectively acknowledge its dependence on God.  Still, this can become a slippery slope.  Remember what Jesus had to say about praying loudly before TV cameras?  (Okay, he didn’t exactly say TV cameras, but he described the first century equivalent quite well.)  Jesus condemned the drama and advocated the private in-your-own-closet approach.

For several years, I taught school in a state where Bible reading and prayer were a mandated beginning to every school day.  Great example for the rest of the country, you say?  Think again!  Classroom prayers were perfunctory at best, and at worst were divisive or sarcastic.  The Bible reading was often ridiculous.  One teacher read the same verse every morning for the entire school year–John 11:35: Jesus wept. 

Please, please, pray for the United States of America.  Pray that the all-wise, Almighty God will guide this country.  Pray for our leaders.  Pray for other nations, too.  By all means pray for a spiritual awakening.  Don’t let your prayers wait for next year’s proclamation.

There’s no law against it.  There never can be!


 The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.

Nahum 1:7


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