Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

I’ve received several messages on FaceBook about the President deciding not to proclaim a National Day of Prayer in May. While that’s not true, he has chosen to issue the proclamation without hosting a ceremony in the White House.

However, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has taken stronger action. She has ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, pending appeal. My first reaction was outrage…until I read the judge’s comment:
“Recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not
mean the government may enact a statute in support of it,
any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast
during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify
themselves in a sweat lodge, or practice rune magic.”

Judge Crabb’s quote caused me to wonder…how outraged would we be if the President issued a national proclamation for the practice of Islam or Wicca? Please don’t misunderstand—I’m not against the National Day of Prayer. It is a public reminder of our dependence on the Lord, the true source of our help and our freedoms.

Yes, “this country was built on Freedom & Prayer” (as the FaceBook message says). And yes, the United States was founded on Christian principles (despite some protestations to the contrary). And absolutely yes, our culture has become increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs and values, despite the fact that 76% of Americans identify themselves as Christian.

Still, many individual Christians live as if they are not accountable to the sovereign God who rules the universe. And elected officials who have appointed a judiciary that is dismantling our Christian heritage would not be in office if Christians hadn’t also voted for them.

Thomas Jefferson said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Many believe that Judge Crabb’s ruling will be overturned on appeal. Even so, Christians do need to stand for the values that made our nation great, including voting for those who will uphold these values, regardless of political party affiliation.

But the answer to society’s ills will not be found in elected officials—Republican or Democrat. And the lack of an official proclamation for the National Day of Prayer does not forbid us to pray in our homes, churches, or even in Washington, whether today, the first Thursday in May, or any other day. How many of the 76% of Americans who profess to be Christian began today with prayer? How many will do so tomorrow?

What do you think?

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  1. grantdavid

    This is very nice.
    “But the answer to society’s ills will not be found in elected officials—Republican or Democrat.”
    I was just talking to my friend about this an hour ago. “Society’s ills” can only be addressed by people taking actions. That means Christians have to spend more time, effort and money action like Christians–or better yet acting like Christ. I think Jesus says something like, “give to Ceasar what is Ceasars.” Let the government do what it will, and follow Christ…
    Good comment Ava.

  2. avapennington

    Thanks, Grant. I agree, only as Christians follow Christ will we truly be able to impact our society for Him.

  3. Stephanie Reed

    I think this was so well written. Thanks! I know that many churches have prayer meetings midweek that are very poorly attended. It seems kind of strange that so many church people get so angry about this when they very seldom avail theirselves to so many opportunities to get together and pray. I totally agree with what you wrote 🙂

  4. avapennington

    It’s sad, isn’t it, Stephanie, that church prayer meetings are so poorly attended. Prayer is often an afterthought rather than our first response — so different from the early church!

  5. Jeanette Levellie

    Judge Crabb’s quote sounds reasonable. But I believe it is simply another method for inviting the one true God to step out of the picture of our lives a little more.

    Each invitation to leave us alone will see our morals crumble a bit more.

    Although I don’t pray as much as I should, that’s no excuse to say we shouldn’t gather as a nation to pray. No one is forcing non-Christians to participate.

    I’m not outraged, but I am sad. We need all the help we can get and we’re rejecting the best source of help.

  6. avapennington

    I am sad with you, Jeanette. You’re right – as a nation, we are pushing God out bit by bit. And God will not force Himself on anyone, including our country.

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