Because the country needs it, Joe Cunningham says the Greenfield Area Ministerial Association will once again hold a National Day of Prayer observance at noon on May 4.
It will be held outside the Greenfield City Building, weather permitting, and ministers, officials and community leaders will share an hour of scripture reading and prayer.
The public is invited to attend and participate.
“Our country certainly needs prayer. We believe God can be involved in what’s happening,” said Cunningham, secretary for the ministerial association. “Benjamin Franklin said, ‘A nation cannot rise without the help of almighty God,’ so I guess we can’t sustain without the help of God either.”
Cunningham said he’s not sure how long the ministerial association has been observing the National Day of Prayer, but he said it has been observed in Greenfield for at least the 38 years since he moved there.
The theme this year is, “For Your Great Name’s Sake, Hear us, Forgive us, Heal us.” Cunningham said the theme is based on the prophet Daniel’s prayer “O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For Your sake, O my God.” (Daniel 9:19)
Cunningham said a Day of Prayer is needed because the psalmist says in a prayer to God, “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found.” (Psalm 32:6)
“The psalmist implies that there comes a time when God cannot be found. A time when God hides Himself. See Deuteronomy 31:16-18. A time that I believe has begun in America,” Cunningham said in a news release. “In the Old Testament, God moved in judgment on His own beloved nation of Judah. God warns that judgment is coming. But if a nation does not heed His warnings, judgment is sure. If God judged His own nation of Judah, why would we think America can escape judgment?
“The only escape from God’s judgment is repentance and prayer. God promises: ‘You will see me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13),’” Cunningham said.
During the Greenfield event, ministers, community leaders and others will gather to offer prayer for the nation, its government leaders, institutions, churches and families, according to Cunningham.
“The Psalmist also says, ‘God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11),’” Cunningham said. “In the national prayer, we pray: We now turn to you as the God of our Fathers. You alone are our Hope for the future. If we as a nation do not get right with You, no one in Washington or in our state capital can reverse the downward moral and spiritual spiral that has become a free fall and is provoking Your judgment. We approach you now with fear and trembling.”
Anne Graham Lotz, honorary chairman of the 2017 National Day of Prayer, has written the 2017 National Prayer and after listing a long confession of sins that she said are prevalent in the nation, Cunningham closes with these words to God: “Therefore we turn to You with tears of shame and a heart of fear for the judgment we are provoking. We repent of our sin. Please, God of our Fathers, do not back away from us. Do not remove Your hand of blessing from us. As we return to You with humility … with sincerity … out of necessity … with a desperate sense of urgency. Please! Return to us! Hear our prayer. Forgive our sin. Heal our land. For the glory of Your great name … Jesus. Amen.”
The first call for a national day of prayer was issued by the Continental Congress in 1775. Since that time American presidents have issued a proclamation for an annual Day of Prayer. In 1988, Congress set aside the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer.
Across the county a variety of prayer observances will be held in almost every village, city and state. The National Day of Prayer Task Force was established in 1983 to encourage prayer, personal repentance and righteousness in the culture.
For further local information, contact Cunningham at 937-981-3168, [email protected] or P.O. Box 361, Greenfield, Ohio 45123.
For further National Day of Prayer information, including events across the nation and during the year, go to www.NationalDayOfPrayer.org or call 1-800-444-8828.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.