By James Rogers
When we first arrived the air hung limp between us without a wind to stir the humidity from the earlier rain. We stood at the Lincoln Memorial with the day neither beautiful nor comfortable.
As the strains of the hymn “This is My Story” sung acapella drifted through those gathered, the morning took on a beauty only His presence could give. That was just the beginning step of the National Day of Prayer for me and five other fellow pastors from the Gibson Baptist Association.
I personally was blessed to then hear prayers from all over our land. Prayers from across all barriers we seem to be divided over. We shared together in the burdens of our nation taking the weight of its needs and sitting it at the foot of the cross. White or black, male or female, young or old, all had one desire; to ask God to intervene, healing all that divides us.
It was humbling and overwhelming to hear fifty thousand people pray at once and then to experience seeing so many pray over the seven places symbolizing different needs. We walked through crowds of people circled in prayer, past individuals on their knees crying out to God, and families together doing the same.
All set an example of what we as a nation should be doing, crying out to the one and only Lord asking for His healing and His hand to be upon us. We all prayed that His gospel would be heard by all, sin would be recognized and forgiven, abortion done away with, racial division to be healed, and for Him to reign in our land and more importantly in our hearts.
After walking through this beautiful example of what heaven would be like we began to ask ourselves some questions. One stood out above others — why did the Southern Baptist Convention not put more support behind this event, in at least promoting attendance? There was one Baptist Press article that announced the event in August.
We were troubled as pastors in the SBC to not have a good answer to that question. In the SBC’s defense, there were no other major denominations that promoted it as far as I could tell. But could you imagine what would have happened if just one representative from every Southern Baptist church would have come? We would have doubled the amount of people who were praying that day in person. Imagine 100,000 people praying in our capitol! Maybe in the future we can move in that direction.
We can accomplish that goal one day if we begin by remembering that encouragement of Scripture that we are to “pray without ceasing.” To that end, it is not always about the place you are praying, though I wish the world had seen more at the prayerwalk, but that we are praying everywhere we go.
There is an old saying, “Prayer is firing the winning shot.” If we want to see our nation turn to God, if we want to see the violence of our day stopped, and our relationships healed we must take that first shot. We must start praying! Day by day we are seeing our nation crumble to the point that every election divides us further. We must take the winning shot! We must pray.
I was blessed to pray with many at the National Day of Prayer, but I cannot stop there and neither should any other believer. We must take prayer past an event and to an everyday occurrence. Together in prayer we can win. B&R — Rogers is pastor Oakwood Baptist Church, Milan.