WASHINGTON (Christian News Network) — President Trump has issued a proclamation recognizing the National Day of Prayer, noting the nation’s dependence on God from its founding and acknowledging that “just as those before us turned to God in their darkest hours, so must we seek His wisdom, strength, and healing hand” in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“On this National Day of Prayer, Americans reaffirm that prayer guides and strengthens our nation, and we express, with humility and gratitude, our ‘firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,'” the proclamation, posted to the White House website, reads.
“As one nation under God, we share a legacy of faith that sustains and inspires us and a heritage of religious liberty. Today, we join together and lift up our hearts, remembering the words of 1 John 5:14 that tell us when ‘we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.'”
Trump cites examples of the nation’s reliance on the wisdom and direction of God throughout history.
“When the prospects for our independence seemed bleak, General George Washington proclaimed a national day of ‘fasting, humiliation and prayer, humbly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God.’ Following the devastating destruction of the Civil War, President Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address and invoked the power of prayer to ‘bind up the nation’s wounds,'” the proclamation outlines.
“And more than 100 years later, President Reagan noted our long reliance on prayer throughout our history, writing that ‘through the storms of revolution, Civil War, and the great world wars as well as during times of disillusionment and disarray, the nation has turned to God in prayer for deliverance,'” he recalls.
The proclamation then turns to the present challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
“During the past weeks and months, our heads have bowed at places outside of our typical houses of worship, whispering in silent solitude for God to renew our spirit and carry us through unforeseen and seemingly unbearable hardships,” it states. “Even though we have been unable to gather together in fellowship with our church families, we are still connected through prayer and the calming reassurance that God will lead us through life’s many valleys.”
“In the midst of these trying and unprecedented times, we are reminded that just as those before us turned to God in their darkest hours, so must we seek His wisdom, strength, and healing hand,” the declaration continues. “We pray that He comforts those who have lost loved ones, heals those who are sick, strengthens those on the front lines, and reassures all Americans that through trust in Him, we can overcome all obstacles.”
Trump urges the nation to observe the National Day of Prayer, noting that “all things are possible with God.”
“In times of prosperity, strife, peace, and war, Americans lean on His infinite love, grace, and understanding. Today, on this National Day of Prayer, let us come together and pray to the Almighty that through overcoming this coronavirus pandemic, we develop even greater faith in His divine providence,” the proclamation states.
“I encourage all Americans to observe this day, reflecting on the blessings our nation has received and the importance of prayer, with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities in their houses of worship, communities, and places of work, schools, and homes consistent with the White House’s ‘Guidelines for Opening up America Again.'”
The first Thursday in May is traditionally the National Day of Prayer each year, and many gather for corporate prayer in their communities. This year, most prayer observances will be virtual, including a main event that will be broadcast on television, radio and online.
According to Fox News, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sens. Marco Rubio and Tim Scott will also participate in an online event this evening hosted by Jack Graham and Greg Laurie.
The theme for this year’s observance, as chosen by the Colorado-based National Day of Prayer Task Force, is “Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth.”
As previously reported, Trump also declared this past March 15 as a national Day of Prayer in light of the coronavirus pandemic, calling on Americans to “turn towards prayer in an act of faith.”
Christian News Network reported this week that a ministry director and former pastor in Australia has expressed concern that many Christian leaders seem to be leaving the call to repentance from sin and inner brokenness out of their COVID-19 response.
“In this recent Covid-19 crisis, it has struck me how the knee-jerk reactions of many Christian leaders have managed to leave out the whole question of repentance,” wrote David Robertson in a recent blog post. “It is clear that when the economies of the world can be stopped and the idols of our culture be torn down by a tiny virus, the response of humanity and our rulers should not be, ‘We are great; we can fix this,’ but rather humility and repentance.”
“[I]t appears we still prefer to stick our mammon-fattened fingers into our cloth ears, denying even the possibility that God might be saying something to us,” he wrote. “We prefer to be told there is no explanation and no hope (outwith ourselves), rather than admit we are helpless and cry out to the God who offers both help and hope (as well as explanation).”
“We do not need a knee jerk reaction seeking to justify the ways of God to men, but rather a knee fall reaction — kneeling in prayer and crying out the to Lord to save us in His mercy,” Robertson concluded. “And let it begin with us — the Church and especially those of us who are church leaders. Of all people, we are the ones who most need to repent.”
Psalm 51:16-17 reads, “For Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; Thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit — a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.”
Joel 2:12-13 also exhorts, “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting and with weeping and with mourning, and rend your heart and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness …”
Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”