Yesterday our nation recognized the national day of prayer. It was a time where that proverbial line of separation of church and state was blurred. Elected officials and national leaders took to social media and posted pictures, memes and graphics reminding people to pray. When I reflect on the state of our nation I am often reminded to pray for our land, it’s the greatest thing we can do. The privilege of the Christian to go before God and petition not only on our behalf but also on behalf of our nation and our leaders is a humbling idea. It’s a charge that even the apostle Paul would issue in the New Testament when he would remind Timothy, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (I Timothy 2:1-3). Prayer for our nation and for it’s leaders is not only to their benefit but ours as well as the church today. 

However, it is no secret that we need to be in prayer for more than a day. What about the other 364 days of the year? Should we not then pray for our nation too? Sadly, one day just isn’t going to be enough anymore. It seems that every other day we drift further and further away from Him as a people. However, I do take solace and am encouraged in the small victory that is the National Day of Prayer. But, this day begs the question; how can a nation so set on the separation of church and state acknowledge a day of prayer? Where did it all begin?

While the national day of prayer is a more recent addition to our national traditions, prayer in an official capacity is not. You may be familiar with the work we are doing at Focus Press with Rebuilding Faith, both hosting a rally and seminars across the nation addressing the issues of our nation and how we can again rebuild a nation in which the gospel will flourish. You may have also noticed that as we put out material and information in regards to this work the verse, Psalm 127:1. The reason we associate this work and this verse is because it is not only a direct quote from the scriptures but one that Founding Father Benjamin Franklin quoted to remind congress that we needed to remember God and remember to pray.

Benjamin Franklin said, “To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, 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 his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.I therefore beg leave to move-that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service.” He understood the need to ask for the wisdom and council of God. He asserted that if we as a nation forget God we would fail as a nation. He believed this so fervently he made it an official appeal before congress to begin its business with prayer and have official clergy to preside over congress. 

As a nation we must be reminded from time to time that we are not in control, God is. However, God leaves us to our own will and never imposes upon our liberty. But look how far that has gotten us. It is now my plea that you remember to pray and ask God for His will not our own to be done in this land. Let us remind friends, our families, leaders and ourselves that we must submit to God and that we must seek his aid! Let us remind them in the spirit of Franklin, a nation that prays together will stay together! 

By Andrew Chavarrilla