BLOUNTVILLE — The public is invited to the historic Sullivan County Courthouse to “pray for our county, state and nation” at noon Thursday, in observance of the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer.
The theme of the nationwide event for this year is “Pray for America,” according to the National Day of Prayer Task Force website.
That’s meant to emphasize “the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to place their faith in the unfailing character of their Creator, who is sovereign over all governments, authorities, and men,” according to information on the website.
With that theme in mind, the National Day of Prayer Task Force chose Matthew 12:21 as the highlighted Bible scripture for this year: “In His name the nations will put their hope.”
The task force issued a press release last month that, in part, said there were divisive issues during last year’s national elections that “were of greater significance than the prevailing economic scrutiny.”
“The moral values of the sanctity of human life, preservation of marriage, defense of Israel and religious freedoms became the focus of attack while many remained unaware of the new aggressive, socialistic agenda sweeping across the land,” the press release stated. “But eyes are being opened and the outcry is significant. The predominant population of Christians in our nation have been silent long enough and they are taking the issues to God in mobilized, corporate prayer.”
The press release said events carried out across the nation tomorrow “will unite in direct opposition to the attacks on religious freedom. It will be the largest National Day of Prayer on record. Individuals are being asked to pray, petition and be a voice of reason at such a critical hour in our nation’s history.”
For this year’s observances, Pastor Greg Laurie, 2013 Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer, has written a special prayer to be simultaneously read throughout the nation at noon Thursday, according to the task force’s website, and “this recitation will create a huge wave of prayer, flowing from one coast to the other, illustrating the unity of God’s people and acknowledging His dominion over the circumstances facing us.”
“Father, we come to You to pray for our nation, the United States of America.
“How You have blessed us through the years, Lord! We rightly sing, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee.” Yet we see trouble in our culture today. We see the breakdown of the family, crippling addictions, and random acts of horrific violence.
“Lord, we need Your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have “forgotten God.” But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.
“Scripture tells us that ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people’ (Proverbs14:34). Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape. As the psalmist said, ‘Will You not revive us again, so that Your people may rejoice in You?’ (Psalm 85:6)
“That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land. (2 Chronicles7:14)
“Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much.
“We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Laurie is senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., and Harvest Orange County in Irvine, Calif.
Harvest is one of the largest churches in America, according to the task force website.