In the United States, the first Thursday in May has been set aside as National Day of Prayer. And on May 5, Lancaster County joined more than 40,000 prayer groups across our nation to observe 65 years of corporate prayer.
Although Day of Prayer week began with a daily forecast of cold, rainy weather, we remembered how God created the lilies to grow effortlessly without anxiety or stress. These flowers depend upon their creator to meet their needs of both sun and rain. We, too, are created by God, who nurtures us with care and love. He meets all of our needs when we trust in him. That was certainly the case for Day of Prayer.
Because of the inclement weather for our outdoor evening event, we needed to venture inside for the first time since the local Day of Prayer observance began here 21 years ago. Where could we go after a last-minute change in venue with thousands of people planning to attend? We approached four other venues, but only the downtown Lancaster County Convention Center was available that Thursday evening — the only evening that week it was open.
God provided a miracle venue.
It was a lovely setting for our Concert of Prayer. The site was quiet and peaceful and safe from the cold and rain. A special thanks to the National Day of Prayer Task Force who scurried to make the sound, lighting, stage and other logistical details come together in less than 24 hours.
It became a holy hush of God’s presence when a shofar — a ram’s horn trumpet used by the ancient Hebrews — called us to worship at 6 p.m. Thousands had come together to pray to God and praise him under the guidance of worship leader Michael W. Smith, an acclaimed contemporary Christian songwriter and singer. The music of the 120-voice One A-Chord Choir and the Matt Goss Band in the background brought our spirits joyfully together.
Our prayer leader, Dr. Beau Eckert, led us to acknowledge the strong and mighty God, the eternal one, and his endless attributes: mercy, grace, slowness to anger, steadfast love, faithfulness, forgiveness. Filled with respect and honor, we prepared to worship our sovereign God. Dr. Eckert pointed out that when we realize we are powerless in ourselves, it’s only surrendering to God that begins, sustains and completes his work in each of us.
This year’s theme for National Day of Prayer was “Wake Up America!” Our nation is in crisis. We need the mind of God as we pray for the United States and become servants to one another. Philippians 2:1-8 does not mention color, nationality or ethnicity; we are to love, to serve and to pray for one another.
Prayers are the breath and heart of our soul. In Isaiah 65:24, God says, “Before they call, I will answer, and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” He is waiting to hear us speak to him. It’s not the end of hope when prayers aren’t answered, instead, hope ends when prayers aren’t prayed and end up withering in our souls and our hearts. It’s in praying God’s will that makes the difference because life is in his timing and knowing.
The Concert of Prayer was a time to experience the common thread of the spirit of God uniting us together corporately, and to heal the tattered places of the heart. If we don’t live a praying life, we will only have the opinions of people on earth and not the mind of God to direct us.
As millions humbly prayed across our land on May 5, asking God to heal our crisis in our country and turn us back to his ways, we simply can’t underestimate how God may heal our land and once again bless America. We prayed seeking God’s heart, to hear with his ears, to see with his eyes, to depend on his power to answer our prayers — not only at the convention center, but also around school flag poles, in houses of worship, at breakfast gatherings and as individuals spending solitary time with God.
Worship leader Smith ended the evening with the song “Healing Rain/Let It Rain”:
“It’s coming to this old town, rich and poor, the weak and strong/It’s bringing mercy, it won’t be long ... tears of joy and tears of shame are washed forever in Jesus’ name.”
It was a gentle reminder that our spiritual prayer life should not be temperamental like the weather; God is quietly listening for our prayers when we put our agenda aside and watch and wait for him to take care of the details of life.
May our bonded hearts be renewed in America with our prayers to almighty God, not just one day a year, but every day.
Thanks Lancaster County, for praying together as a community and bringing harmony to our region.
Dona Fisher is chairwoman of Lancaster County National Day of Prayer and vice president of Friendship Foundation Inc. She is also an LNP correspondent. Email her at email@example.com.