Hard to believe National Day of Prayer is right around the corner

By BRETT CAMPBELL,

Wow. I cannot believe how fast 2017 went the way of my youth (a.k.a. gone) and how quickly 2018 is ticking along. Is it really after Easter already?

In just a few weeks all of my children will have gotten a year older. Well, actually, they’ll be just a few weeks older, but you understand what I mean. 

So many birthdays. Pretty much everyone I know will have a birthday this year.

My youngest son will be getting married this summer. I’ll be a father-in-law. First time for me.

My oldest niece will be getting married this fall. I’ll be an uncle-in-law for the first time, too. 

The 2018 Chunky River Raft Race and Festival is coming up at the first of June. Well, the second of June, starting at 9 a.m. and going for the next 14 hours. 

Again the event will benefit Alzheimer’s Mississippi. It’s a great cause and write it down now so it won’t sneak up on you. June is really not that far away.

And May comes before that, believe it or not.

May 3 is the National Day of Prayer. Praying people should be praying every day, about everything. But the NDP is a special, nation-wide concentration of events to get people gathered together, usually in a local government center, to pray as a groupfor God’s leadership, mercy and blessings on America. 

The official website of NDP presents three prayer priorities for America in our current month of April. First, pray “for the leaders of America to come together to provide strategic leadership that will lead to righteous and peaceful living in America.” The scripture tied to this priority is 1 Timothy 2:1-2, a call to pray for “all those who are in authority.”

The second priority is, “Pray for unity in the church of America,” 1 Corinthians 1:10. In this scripture, Paul the Apostle urged believers to “be united” in understanding and conviction.

The third priority is tied to probably the most well-known scripture passage dealing with prayer for a nation, 2 Chronicles 7:14 — “If my people, who are called by my name …” If you don’t know it, look up the rest and read it. The NDP call is, “Pray for every town, city and county in America to have at least one prayer observance on the National Day of Prayer … resulting in a mighty move of God.”

As a college student, I had one professor who took a prayer break at 2 p.m. every day, no matter what was going on. As a Navy chaplain for the Marine Corps, Dr. Lee has promised a young man he’d pray for him every day at that time because of something the man was going through. So his alarm would sound at that time daily, he’d pause in whatever he was saying, bow his head and pray silently, then pick up the lecture or continue whatever was going on. He encouraged us to pray during that minute or so, as well.

A few years back, my brother challenged me — and others — to begin to pray at 8 p.m. nightly for our country and our leaders. I set the alarm on my phone and I’ve been doing it ever since. I’m often at work when it goes off, so I pause and pray for God to give his wisdom and protection to our leaders, safety officers and emergency workers.

The alarm went off one evening when my three daughters and I were grocery shopping. My youngest asked what the alarm was for, and I said it was my 8 o’clock prayer alarm, and asked her to remind me to pray when we got back in the car. She said, “Why can’t we pray now?” So we joined hands and prayed in a circle (square?) in the middle of the frozen foods section. 

I was humbled and proud at the same time. Prayer is powerful, and your example of praying may push someone else to do it, too.

If you’re a praying person, join me in praying for these things throughout the month of April. If you’re not a praying person, you can start.