Jim Weidmann <> National Day of Prayer
--->NPPNote: This interview is the launching of a strategic partnership between the NPPN and NDP for the 2001 National Day of Prayer. It is our common goal to increase pastoral participation on the first Thursday of May and this interview is the first step in that direction.
Toward our goal to encourage 500 Pastors' Prayer Groups to meet that day, the NPPN web directory will list PPGs and identify when and where they will meet. We are asking every PPG to visit http://www.nppn.org/ppg/ and list when and where you will meet on the National Day of Prayer:
.Your normal location?
.A key historic site in the city?
.Before or after a City Prayer Breakfast?
.Noon, on the steps of City Hall?
.At a strategic church facility...?
We thank Jim Weidmann for his leadership to the Holy Spirit's prayer movement through the National Day of Prayer and his willingness to partner with the NPPN, as together, we seek to encourage and equip pastors to lead us into prayer; NDP and every day...
"JIM, SOME OF US HAVE minimal understanding, possibly even some misunderstanding, of the National Day of Prayer - Give us some background on the history and purpose of the NDP ..."
The National Day of Prayer (NDP) is an annual event established by an act of Congress, which encourages Americans to pray for our nation, its people and its leaders. The NDP Task Force was created to promote the awareness of this day and call our nation to prayer. In calling the nation to prayer, the Task Force hopes to communicate the need for personal repentance and prayer and the need for corporate prayer for America and those in leadership.
Days of prayer have been called for since 1775, when the Continental Congress designated a time for prayer in forming a new nation. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln called for such a day. Officially, the NDP was established as an annual event by an act of Congress in 1952 and was signed into law by President Truman. The law was amended in 1988 and signed by President Ronald Reagan, establishing the NDP as the first Thursday of May each year.
"JIM,, NPPN PASTORS AND PRAYER LEADERS want to know how the NDP is able to serve the local church ... Why should a Pastor or Prayer Leader make the effort to be involved and lead his/her members to be active that day?"
Every year, the President and governors from each state proclaim the first Thursday in May as a day of prayer. Because our government officially endorses it as a day of prayer, we must take advantage of the opportunity to publicly express our faith in this way. We are called to be "salt and light" and to be "a city on a hill that cannot be hidden," as it says in Matthew 5. By coming out from behind the walls of our churches and publicly praying for our nation and its leaders, we can have a significant impact on our communities.
Our neighbors watch the body of Christ to see how they act in all situations. By our willingness to stand in unity, despite our theological differences, the people see the focus of God's church on Him, not church doctrine, as all prayers point to Christ.
This annual, nationally-promoted day provides an opportunity in the church calendar to emphasize prayer. Even Jesus disciples asked Him late in His ministry to "teach us to pray." So we need to teach and emphasize prayer within our own congregations. As a church, you can not be a house of prayer until you become men and women of prayer.
You can not walk away from an encounter with God and not be changed. Through prayer, we point many to Christ and allow them to make the choice to be changed for eternity.
"SOME PASTORS THINK NDP is meant to be driven by lay people. Is there a role for Pastors on that day beyond showing up at a park to lead a public prayer?"
Non-believers tend to be very skeptical of the actions of the Church. They have developed a cynicism toward churches, always wondering if the preacher has some sort of hidden agenda. NDP provides a couple of different ways for Pastors to make an impact on the community.
1) The purpose of NDP (praying for America and those in leadership) helps dispel any preconceived ideas of those who are cynical. For those Pastors who help organize and/or promote a citywide event, they have the opportunity to clearly state that they are calling on the community to unite and pray. The event is not an attempt to add to a church's membership. It is not a call for help to fund a new building. There is no hidden agenda - merely a call for prayer.
2) Here in Colorado Springs, churches of all denominational and racial representations join together to put on a seven-hour event in a public park on the National Day of Prayer. Six different churches agree to host one hour of the event. The visible unity of the pastors is an expression of their desire to serve their city - once again magnifying the opportunity to reach out in Christ's love.
"IS THIS A POLITICAL event? Partisan in any way?"
The answer is a resounding "no." The National Day of Prayer is not orchestrated by any political party nor is it a promotion of any particular political issue. Our desires are these: 1) for Christian citizens from across the country to cover America in prayer, and 2) provide a blanket of prayer for all of those people who are in leadership roles.
Because of the fall of man, God no longer walks with man in the garden. The Lord has chosen to limit Himself in this way. But, He does make His power available and will intercede and heal our land if we first "pray and seek" His face (II Chronicles 7:14). Though it is not a political event, the government's endorsement of NDP provides an avenue to call for corporate prayer.
"HOW DO YOU BALANCE the emphasis of some Christians to personal righteousness (holiness, character) with those Christians who focus on Christ's call to social righteousness (justice, morality)?"
The intent is to show that there is a need for both. During the actual observances, prayer time for personal repentance and commitment is a bedrock of the events. Then, time is also made for national prayers for our leaders and their social agendas that they may be in alignment with God's will.
"JIM, PLEASE LEAD US into a prayer the entire NPPNetwork can pray 'together' -"
I would like to share a prayer with you that we are promoting for the 2001 National Day of Prayer. Billy Graham has agreed to be Honorary Chairman for this year's event and has written a national prayer to bring this country together and point us to Him. We want people from all across the country to read and pray Dr. Graham's prayer at exactly 12:30pm EST on May 3. This year's theme is "One Nation Under God" and if citizens from coast to coast will pray this prayer in one voice at one time, we will be a picture of being One Nation Under God. Here is Dr. Graham's prayer for the nation.
Our Father and Our God,
We praise You for Your goodness to our nation, giving us blessings far beyond what we deserve.
Yet we know all is not right with America. We deeply need a moral and spiritual renewal to help us meet the many problems we face.
Convict us of sin. Help us to turn to You in repentance and faith. Set our feet on the path of Your righteousness and peace.
We pray today for our nation's leaders. Give them the wisdom to know what is right, and the courage to do it.
You have said, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." May this be a new era for America, as we humble ourselves and acknowledge You alone as our Savior and Lord.
This we pray in your holy name, Amen.
* * To order 2001 NDP resources for your church or community, call: 800-444-8828
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