Dona Fisher

Dona Fisher

On Feb. 12, 1809, in a meager one-room house, a son was born to a young farming couple near Hodgenville, Kentucky.  They named their son Abraham.

At age 10, Abe’s father bought their very first book: a Bible.  Abe’s early years were spent clearing forests on his father’s farm but most nights, he spent reading the Bible and praying.  With only one year of schooling, Abe became a country lawyer.  

Abraham Lincoln was a most unlikely man to be chosen to become president of the United States.  He was labeled a disgrace to the nation by the press but others saw a man of integrity and truth.  He was nicknamed “Honest Abe.”

He took the presidency as a serious call from God.  In obedience, he quietly became a mature, respected man of God who was honored through the ages as a great president.

He lived with threats of assassination through his entire 49 months in office.  He was besieged by the adversities of race and party that divided his nation while the army under his command performed poorly and his own family was divided — with eight members of his wife’s family  on one side and six on the other.  But, somehow he rose above these conditions of adversity.

How could this humble man bear such heavy burdens of responsibility during this intense period of pressure?  How could he think clearly during this time of criticism, burying an 11-year-old son — born the same year Lincoln’s firstborn son, not yet 4, had died — and a ferocious civil war?   In 1864, in deepest despair over repeated losses by Union forces, a significant victory came when Gen. William T. Sherman's forces captured Atlanta in early September. A few weeks later, Lincoln  was  re-elected president of the United States for another four years.

But an assassin took his life on April 15, 1865.  Abraham Lincoln will always be remembered and admired as a man of deep faith and conviction and a solid character of moral integrity, a leader devoted to God and his country.  A man of honor and respect — a man of prayer.

A statue stands as his testimony in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. — a man of God kneeling in prayer.  He confided to his secretary, “I have been driven many times upon my knees, by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

Abe Lincoln never forgot the contrast between two absolutes: the faltering weakness of human error and the goodness of God.  He preferred depending on and believing in higher divine power to mold history for his precious America, his one nation under God.  He believed God used erring mortals to effect his purpose.  His heart of prayer continues in our nation.

During his time in office, Lincoln, in desperation for answers, issued at least two proclamations for national days of “humiliation, prayer and fasting.” President Harry Truman signed a bill on April 17, 1952, requiring the president to set a National Day of Prayer each year. Ronald Reagan signed a law in 1988 setting aside the first Thursday of May as the National Day of Prayer.

The 2015 National Day of Prayer theme is: “Lord, Hear Our Cry” taken from I Kings 8:28: “Hear the cry and prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”

Lancaster County is celebrating 20 years of gathering for corporate prayer this year.  The Keynote Concert of Prayer Speaker is Christian author and apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias.  He grew up in India and at age 17 decided life was not worth living and  tried to end his life.  When he awoke in a hospital, he found a Gideon Bible on the table by his bed.  As he began to read it, he received answers he had been seeking.  He, too, has become a public man of prayer, speaking in venues such as Harvard, Dartmouth and Oxford, in defense of God’s truth.

Joined by our Community Choir, we are gathering at WJTL’s Junction Center outdoor amphitheatre on May 7 at 5:45 p.m.   Food vendors will be available at 4 p.m.  Information about other events can be found online at lancasterndp.com.

Dona Fisher is vice president of Friendship Foundation Inc. She is also a correspondent for LNP. Her email address is dfisher@friendshipfoundation.org.

What to Read Next