The National Day of Prayer is an annual event held on the first Thursday of May every year since its inception in 1952.
In years past, about 30,000 events take place on that day across the country. It is a call to all Americans to humbly come together before God to seek his blessings and guidance for our leaders in all areas that daily affect our lives.
This year, because of social-distancing guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be a local event at Rotary Park as in the past, but everyone is encouraged to join in the national event Thursday evening online or on the radio.
Each year, the day centers around a theme and a corresponding Bible verse. This year, the theme is “God’s glory over all of the earth” taken from Habakkuk 2:14, which says:
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”.
So what exactly are we praying for in this verse? What exactly is “glory”?
One could spend a lifetime trying to define this weighty, complex, lovely word, but John Piper, a well-known theologian defines it like this: “The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s manifold perfections.” God’s glory is displayed in his creation, his character and attributes, his holiness and the laws of nature. God’s glory is everywhere to be seen by those who will open themselves up to it. We were made for this.
Upon close reading, one sees that this verse is not asking for the glory of the Lord to fill the earth, but rather for the “acknowledgment” of the fact that his glory already does fill the earth – we just need to open our eyes to it. Especially here in Colorado, one only needs to look up and around at the glorious majestic snowcapped mountains, the splendor of the colors in autumn and the breathtaking sunrises to see that God’s glory is everywhere. We feel it in our souls.
In perilous and uncertain times such as these, it is easy to focus inward, to focus on fear and on the unknown, and we are made keenly aware of the limits of even the most brilliant minds to control the global pandemic in which we are immersed. But what a wonderful verse to beckon us to take our eyes off the constant focus on what is happening in America and around the world and instead turn our gaze outward and upward.
This year, there will not be local, close-contact events, but people are encouraged to drive to places such as government buildings, schools, military bases, jails, businesses and churches to pray the glory of the Lord over these places, asking for God’s blessings, guidance and wisdom for all who work in those places.
Then in the evening, everyone is invited to tune into the national observance taking place in our capital from 6 to 8 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time to join with fellow Americans around the country in prayer.
This event will be broadcast, streamed and posted in many ways, including at nationaldayofprayer.org, Facebook Live, Instagram and viewed on GodTV and Daystar as well as on all of the Passion Radio stations broadcasting from Farmington.
More than ever, may we unite our hearts this year to recognize God’s unchanging glory over the whole earth and to pray that he would bless our country and our communities.
Join your fellow Americans to pray that he would give us eyes to see and ears to hear his glory displayed in amazing ways.
Sherry Keil, who attends Summit Church in Durango, is a member of the National Day of Prayer Committee.