In 1952 the U.S. Congress passed legislation to set aside a National Day of Prayer, no particular day was designated, individuals were simply encouraged to pray for the nation on a day other than Sunday. During the Reagan administration, the National Day of Prayer was established as the first Thursday in May. Thursday marked the 64th anniversary of the National Day of Prayer.
The city and county of Montgomery recognized the day with a community wide prayer breakfast. A crowd of several hundred gathered at the Activity Center on Dexter Avenue in downtown Montgomery for a time of prayer organized by His Vessel Ministry. The crowd included individuals with titles such as governor, justice, mayor, commissioner, and sheriff. But there were also those who enjoy the title of pastor, bishop, priest, Sunday school teacher, choir director, neighbor, and friend. Individuals from across the area, from all walks of life, gathered with one purpose: to lift prayer and praise to God.
Pastor Kyle Searcy of the Fresh Anointing House of Worship encouraged the crowd to praise God first and foremost, in every situation and circumstance. Jesus himself modeled the concept of praise by beginning The Model Prayer with words of praise to the hallowed name of God.
Prayers were said for our state and nation, for our military, for our firefighters and law enforcement officers, and for our elected officials. The time of worship concluded with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean, and Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange reading the first three chapters of Genesis to start a reading of the Bible that will continue the next three days at the Capitol.
God is great, greatly to be praised and that was evident at the Prayer Breakfast. But will it be evident tomorrow? As we awaken and are immediately bombarded with negativity from our television, radio, and everyday conversations will we remember the true source of peace and power? Or will we continue to look to the world for answers. If only we had better leadership. If only we had more money. If only our schools were better. If only we didn’t have crime. If only there were no drugs, poverty, homelessness. If only.
But what does God say? He tells us that in this world we will always have tribulation, but he has overcome the world. He doesn’t waste his time wishing if only, instead he looks to the Christians for the change this world needs. In Chronicles, God says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
God’s people are the answer, but too often we allow ourselves to become the problem. Instead of shaking our fists wishing others would change, we must get on our faces in daily prayer and praise. We are the remnant: We are the change this world needs, God through us!
Ronda M. Walker is a Montgomery County commissioner.