Multiple choice. The National Day of Prayer is:

a)  When my schedule clears up
b)  May 5, 2005
c)  Every day
d)  Sunday morning
e)  Whenever the next tragedy strikes
f)   All of the above

 

Officially, the answer is “B,” but just as Christmas and Easter aren’t the only days we should commemorate Christ’s birth and resurrection, neither is May 5 the only day we should practice fervent prayer.

 

That said, the comparison to our holiest days doesn’t end there. The right and ability to commune with the God of all creation is, after our salvation, the greatest privilege accorded a Christian. It’s a definite reason to party! Our direct line to the Almighty (Jeremiah 33:3 has been referred to as “God’s phone number”) can’t be taken for granted.

 

The National Day of Prayer press release says May 5 will be a time where "citizens of the United States [will] celebrate their freedom to gather, worship, and pray."

 

Why such a cause for rejoicing? How essential to the Christian walk is prayer? How necessary?

 

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

 

Billy Graham said, “The three most important things you can do are to pray, pray, pray!”

 

Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said, “There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.

 

Contemporary Christian musicians Casting Crowns ask, “What if the family turned to Jesus, stopped asking Oprah what to do?”

 

King David wrote: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart,” and “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 37:4 and 145:18).

 

The Lord Jehovah said, “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, will forgive their sins, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

 

And now, in 2005, Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Max Lucado writes: "Not to us, O Lord, but to you goes all the glory. We depend on You. You give birth and breath and determine our days. We exist by Your power. We exist for Your glory... Have mercy... We are sorry... Forgive us, dear Father."

 

It's that father relationship that helps me view prayer as a Christmas-like celebration of gifts and thankfulness. It's our connection to the family of God. One of my favorite verses says, "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11).