Have you ever had those times where someone tells you to do something and even though it is something you enjoy...you simply won’t do it because the rebel side comes out? A few years back this day was that for me because it is “The National Day of Prayer.” The praying that I saw role modeled at times growing up made the whole prayer thing very unappealing to me. It always seemed that when I attended a corporate prayer meeting it was like having Christmas with the relatives. Whoever had the loudest voice was the one who had the floor. Those kind of prayer meetings really made a searching teenager question Matthew 6:5 that states "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
As I have grown in my faith I realize more everyday that prayer is not necessarily about being loud and vocal. It isn’t even about lingering at the altar in order to make yourself look more spiritual. Looking back however at the days of being a teenager and “lingering at the altar”, did that make a person look more spiritual or make them out to be a filthy sinner because of how long they were there? I digress. After I attended a few prayer retreats and began reading books by Henry Nouwen, Brennan Manning, Richard Rohr and more I began to get a new idea of what prayer really is. "The three most important things you can do," Billy Graham says, "are to pray, pray, pray!" I can honestly say this is very true.
Having a new and fresh...perhaps biblical take on prayer I can honestly say when I see a promo for the national day of prayer, it is nothing new for me now. Every day is a day of prayer for me. The words of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 about praying without ceasing is all about a lifestyle. Praying without ceasing is not about staying on your knees all day while neglecting your other daily tasks. It is about communion with God no different than staying aware of the presence of your spouse/loved one. It is a good place to be.
National day of prayer? A good thing if done with a proper perspective of what prayer really is.