One of the most often asked questions I receive is: What should a National Day of Prayer gathering or observance look like this year? I have thought a lot about this and I would like to suggest the following for your consideration.
Keep the Local Context in Mind
While some gatherings may be newly created, many have been occurring for a few years or more. Each one is distinct in its own setting. For example, while some may be categorized as a Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, other prayer gatherings on this day may be on the steps of your city hall, within a church, community center, school, business, a house, or other unique setting. Therefore, the local context should be kept in mind because this may dictate the type of prayer gathering it needs to be.
Remember the Vision of the National Day of Prayer
The National Day of Prayer mobilizes unified public prayer for America. As we activate and call upon millions of Americans to create or participate in prayer gatherings for America on this day, it is our heart to come together in unity across generations, ethnicities, and denominations to pray for America. These gatherings for prayer will have moments when people pray out loud for America, as well as moments where people are called upon to pray privately. On this day of prayer, we focus on one thing: Praying for America. Since 1988, it is the law of our land that the first Thursday each May be deemed as the National Day of Prayer... a day when all Americans are asked to pray for their nation.
What a National Day of Prayer Gathering Should Look Like This Year
While I believe you should keep the local context in mind and always remember the vision of the National Day of Prayer, I really believe it is our responsibility to make sure each event has focused times of prayer. While there may be a speaker and singing in these gatherings, let’s always remember, these are gatherings that call upon people to pray in unity for America.
Different gatherings will have different amounts of time for focused prayer. So how do you know how to allocate your time? Thinking of it in percentages rather than minutes can be helpful. Let’s think of it this way:
25% Local Prayer Focus
Set aside 25% of your prayer time in your gathering for a local prayer focus. In this time, you could pray for:
Mayor and the city council
School administrators, teachers, assistants, and the school board
First responders (police, firefighters, and emergency personnel)
Pastors and local churches
25% State and National Prayer Focus
Suggestions for state and national prayer focus:
Governor, Lieutenant Governor, their support team, and state legislators
President, Vice President, and the President’s Cabinet
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate
Members of the Supreme Court and all judicial members
The United States military, its leaders, and veterans
40% Praying for Unity in America, Our 2018 Theme
Ways to pray for unity in America:
Pray for unity in America, “Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:13
Pray for unity in the Church of America
Pray for unity in the families, workplaces, communities, and cities in America
Pray for unity among all ethnicities and people in America
Pray that we agree clearly, unite visibly, and pray extraordinarily for the next Great Spiritual Awakening in America
10% The 2018 National Prayer
Conclude your gathering with everyone praying The 2018 National Prayer out loud.
As you plan your gathering, please allocate as much time for prayer as possible and consider allocating each prayer focus using these percentages. I believe when this is done across America in each prayer observance or gathering, it will be a dynamic experience to know you are praying in agreement on this day with millions of Americans. Powerful, engaging agreement can occur when each gathering concludes by praying The 2018 National Prayer together out loud.
One final thing. Please send this article to the planning team for your prayer gathering or create a prayer gathering that does this in your town or city. Also, you can watch our 6-minute video on planning your event on the NDP Equipping site. You can find other equipping videos there as well. Share all of these tools with your planning team.
Now is the Time to Lead and to Pray for America,
Ronnie W. Floyd Senior Pastor, Cross Church President, National Day of Prayer
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church, President of the National Day of Prayer, and founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry.
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