- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 5, 2015

With “Lord, Hear Our Cry” as its theme, organizers of the 64th National Day of Prayer invited Americans to raise their voices in prayer on Thursday.

The themes of humility, repentance and hope were sounded throughout the lengthy service held on Capitol Hill.

“This is a time to cry out to God,” said the Rev. Jack Graham, pastor of the Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

“God doesn’t need America,” he told the packed room in the Cannon House Office Building. “But America desperately needs God.”

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and the Rev. Barry Black, the U.S. Senate chaplain, both testified to their mothers’ prayers as life-changing for them.

“My mother was a prayer warrior,” Mr. Carson said while talking about his struggles growing up in inner-city Detroit after his father left their family.

Watching Baltimore recently “descend into chaos” was a stunning sight, said Mr. Black. “This was my neighborhood.”

Mr. Black asked the audience how they thought he and his seven siblings, raised in a single-parent home, escaped the pathology and poverty of an urban city like Baltimore. The answer is “because my mother made prayer as natural as breathing.”

Prayer “connects us to the power of God,” Mr. Black said, adding that “the enemy does not stand a chance” against the prayers of the Holy Spirit and the people seeking to heal the land.

Many speakers called for prayers for America’s leaders in political and judicial spheres, including — by name — the nine Supreme Court justices.

“We must not check our faith at the courthouse door,” said District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert R. Rigsby.

Child psychologist James Dobson — noting he was asked to speak about the issue of gay marriage that is now before the Supreme Court — said the upcoming ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges is “as important a decision as Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 abortion-legalization ruling.

An errant ruling would reach “every corner and dimension of society,” and be “the death knell of religious liberty,” Mr. Dobson said. While the high court is fairly insulated from marches, letters and other advocacy, they can be affected by prayer, he said, urging people to petition God on the future of the nation.

“We must repent,” tearfully prayed Alex Kendrick, filmmaker and pastor at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, as he reviewed the many mistakes in America’s history, past and present.

America was founded and dedicated to God, he said. “Our people should never be led without your word. … Don’t let wickedness take our land.”

Rabbi Neal Surasky, of Chosen People Ministries, blew the shofar, or ram’s horn, to call people to repentance.

Hundreds of events were held throughout the nation May 7, according to the National Day of Prayer Task Force, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The day’s theme comes from 1 Kings 8:28: “Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”

President Obama issued a proclamation in honor of the day, which was established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1952 and signed by President Harry S. Truman.

“In the face of tremendous challenges, prayer is a powerful force for peace, justice and a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow,” Mr. Obama said.

“Today, as we join together in fellowship, we seek to see our own reflection in the struggle of others, to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and to keep faith — in one another, in the promise of our nation, and in the almighty.”

The lengthy service was held — and broadcast — from the Cannon House Office Building. GOD TV broadcast the event; viewers could also watch it on live stream on the nationaldayofprayer.org website or tune to DirectTV channel 365.

Mr. Graham, the honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, led the country in a national prayer, which said, “We repent of our sins and ask for your grace and power to save us. Hear our cry, O God, and pour out your spirit upon us that we may walk in obedience to your word.”

Other speakers included Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama Republican; Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican; Col. Kenneth Williams, chaplain at the Office of the Pentagon; Rabbi Daniel Lapin, president of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians; the Rev. Edward C. Hathaway of St. Veronica Catholic Church in Chantilly, Virginia; and National Day of Prayer officials Shirley Dobson and John Bornschein.


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