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In the wake of tragic events in our country, scores of citizens have turned to their faith for comfort and many have recognized that hope and help must come from a source beyond themselves. "God Bless America" has almost become our nation's theme song. For the first time since the Civil War, on Dec. 4, 2001, the two houses of Congress observed a National Day of Reconciliation, assembling to "humbly seek the blessings of providence for forgiveness, reconciliation, unity and charity for all the people of the United States."
President Bush stated in a speech to Congress last September that "prayer will comfort us in sorrow and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead." We are a wounded country, but if we draw close to God, He has promised to draw close to us (James 4:8).
Psalm 46:1 is the banner under which we will unite with millions of others on the 51st observance of the National Day of Prayer: "God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble." The theme for the 2002 National Day of Prayer is "America United Under God," which underscores the importance of relying on the Lord to guide us through this uncertain time in history.
Americans will once again join hands across denominational lines for a day of prayer. Crowds are expected to be unprecedented, far surpassing the millions who attended the 30,000 events held nationally last year. The president has authorized a special proclamation and all 50 governors, including Gov. Knowles, have signed documents recognizing the occasion. Christian radio stations across the country will broadcast the Concert of Prayer live from Ground Zero in New York and the Senate Caucus Room in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, has written the following prayer, which will be read across the nation on May 2:
"Gracious God, all that we have and are is a result of Your amazing generosity. Since Sept. 11, in the battle against terrorism, we have discovered again that You truly are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. We rededicate ourselves to be one nation under You. In you we trust. We reaffirm our accountability to You, to the absolutes of Your commandments and to justice in our society. Bless our president, Congress and all our leaders with supernatural power. We commit ourselves to be faithful to You as sovereign of our land and as our personal Lord and Savior. Amen."
In Juneau, citizens are invited to participate in a prayer service on the steps of the capitol from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 2. This is in place of the noon observance held in previous years. Families are particularly encouraged to come and pray for our country.
Pat Stringer, state coordinator
National Day of Prayer