Did You Observe the National Day of Prayer?

Did you observe the National Day of Prayer? Were there students or faculty on your campus marking the day with prayer? Do you pray regularly for your campus?

Today (May 5) marks the 60th observance of the National Day of Prayer. In his proclamation about this day, President Barack Obama observed:

Prayer has played an important role in the American story and in shaping our Nation’s leaders. President Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.” The late Coretta Scott King recounted a particularly difficult night, during the Montgomery bus boycott, when her husband, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., received a threatening phone call and prayed at the kitchen table, saying, “Lord, I have nothing left. I have nothing left. I have come to the point where I can’t face it alone.” Dr. King said, in that moment of prayer, he was filled with a sense of comfort and resolve, which his wife credited as a turning point in the civil rights movement.

At the Ohio State University, InterVarsity’s undergraduate, graduate student, and faculty fellowships joined with several other campus organizations to observe this day with a luncheon and prayer service.

Note the planned structure for their prayers. One of the great benefits of structured, corporate prayer is that you are able to set aside time to pray for people and institutions that might not spontaneously occur to you.

  • The OSU Community
  • Campus Ministry and Churches
  • Government and Military
  • The Family
  • The Physically Broken
  • The Victims
  • The Spiritually Broken

I have to confess: I completely forgot about the National Day of Prayer until this afternoon. I am pretty awful at marking special occasions, as anyone in my family can tell you. However, my time this morning in the Bible was appropriate for today. This week, Bobby Gross’s Living the Christian Year (see my interview with Bobby) begins a survey of Ephesians, which I’ve already quoted from extensively this week. I decided that, as part of my reading of Ephesians, I would read through Walter Liefeld’s commentary. Here’s what Liefeld observes about Eph. 1:6-8:

Christianity offers so much to the individual that it is easy to focus on our benefits rather than on the reason we have received them. The phrase beginning to [for] the praise of occurs three times in this section (vv. 6, 12, 14), but only the first includes a reference to God’s grace. It is probably assumed in the other two, but in any case focus is on the Giver of grace.

..since God is gracious, it is impossible to approach him on any other grounds. The whole section on God’s purposes makes it clear that God takes the initiative in his world, and this includes his bestowal of salvation. We must not picture God as deliberating over several possible means of salvation and deciding on grace. The very nature and purposes of God preclude any other way. (39)

Why do I find this reading so appropriate? The speaker for today’s OSU event was Roger Blackwell, a long-time Ohio State marketing professor…who was freed from federal prison less than 3 months ago.

That’s a pretty striking reminder of God’s grace. Most of us won’t ever experience a prison term, a civil war, or a threat on our life. Still, all we have is owed to God’s grace, and it’s out of that grace that our prayers come.

Did you observe the National Day of Prayer? Were there students or faculty on your campus marking the day with prayer? Do you pray regularly for your campus?

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Micheal Hickerson

The former Associate Director for the Emerging Scholars Network, Micheal lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children and works as a web manager for a national storage and organization company. He writes about work, vocation, and finding meaning in what you do at No Small Actors.

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