The first Thursday in May has long been designated as The National Day of Prayer. This year it’s on May 2. Have you ever considered inviting friends and neighbors to your home for one hour of prayer on this special day? I have!
I will print out invitations and take them around the neighborhood. If it is not U.S. mail, then it’s illegal to place an invitation INSIDE a mailbox or even inside the mail slot in a door. Instead, I’ll leave an invitation under the doormat or attach with a rubber band to the outside of the mailbox.
It’s important to have some Christian friends help you host it. I like to post one at the door to greet latecomers. She could also hand out name tags and prayer guides if you are using them.
You will be inviting people in the neighborhood whom you know and whom you think may be favorable to the idea of prayer. Some you may only know as a familiar wave when they pass. Some who won’t come may call with a prayer request. Note: Your invitation is not likely to draw a crowd! You may get a handful at most. After all, it’s even difficult to get Christians to attend a prayer meeting! What you are doing as well as praying, is letting your Christian light shine so that the lost can find you.
I’ve had people call me six months or a year later. One lady said she was not a churchgoer, but she had kept my invitation. “I’m going through a crisis and I need God in my life. I thought perhaps you could help me.” I found it interesting that despite a fine church down the street from us, she called me! Often people who are unchurched are intimidated by churches—that’s why I suggest this be done in a home. But it’s certainly a good thing for a church to do as well!
Here is a sample Invitation:
In Acknowledgement of The National Day of Prayer – Thursday, May 2, 2019
Recognizing a need for more prayer—for our world, our nation, our leaders, our community, our schools, our teachers and our children, I invite you to a neighborhood prayer gathering!
Time____ At the home of_________ Address_________
- This will not be a time for discussing various doctrines of belief.
- We will simply be responding to 2 Chronicles 7:14 of the Bible which states, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
- I believe God will honor the prayers of a neighborhood on its knees—however, you may sit. Some may prefer to pray silently, others may pray aloud, conversationally.
- We will respect the confidentiality of personal prayer requests.
- We will begin and end promptly on time.
- Light refreshments will be served after the meeting.
- I urge those who have never before attended a prayer meeting, to come and see for yourself, what God is willing to do for those who ask.
- If you cannot attend, but would like us to pray for a personal need, please let me know. My phone: ___________
History of the National Day of Prayer:
- 1775 – First Continental Congress called for a National Day of Prayer.
- 1863 – Abraham Lincoln called for such a day.
- 1952 – Congress established NDP as an annual event. It was signed into law by President Truman.
- 1988 – President Reagan amended the law designating the NDP as the first Thursday in May.
- There have been 62 Presidential Proclamations for a “National Day of Prayer” (1952-2014)
Guidelines for Conducting a Prayer Meeting
- Ask three or four Christian friends to come early and pray with you before it begins. Pray for God’s anointing on your home and on this prayer gathering. Pray that God will bring only those people He wants to be there, and prevent all others from coming.
- Begin promptly on time. Introduce yourself and welcome everyone. You might go around the room and ask them to share their name and where they live. This should not take more than 2 minutes.
- Explain that we will begin praying for our nation’s leaders, then our community, our schools, our teachers and our children. Rather than ask people to share personal prayer requests, ask that they just pray them out as they come to mind and you will all agree. Ask them to respect the confidentiality of personal prayer requests. Some people are more comfortable with silent prayer and that is fine. Silent prayer works.
- Before beginning to pray, you will want to prepare your hearts for prayer. Read Matt. 18:19-20. Or choose another short Scripture reading (1-4 verses), such as 1Timothy 2:1-4. Have your Bible open to the verse. Thank God for His Word, His attributes and His presence with you. One easy formula for prayer is ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication – for others and for self.
- Another form of praise and worship is singing. You or a friend can lead in singing one song of praise, perhaps a hymn that is familiar to both Protestants and Catholics, such as “Amazing Grace” or “How Great Thou Art.” Do provide song sheets. However, music is not necessary.
- Then move to confession. Allow one minute for silent confession.
- You might take another minute of silent prayer in memory of the many Christians who have recently been martyred for their faith.
- Go directly into prayer for the national leaders, then state leaders and local leaders. Ask that they finish praying for national leaders before going to state, etc. Allow a pause, a moment of silence, before going from one prayer focus to another.
- Some may wish to pray for Israel and the Mid East conflict. Rather than take sides, it might be best to simply ask that the United States maintain a biblical posture in its relationship with Israel. Remember to pray for the persecuted Christians in many countries: N. Korea, China, Laos, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others.
- Prayer Guide: You might make up a list of your local and state elected officials, your senators and members of congress.
- Unfortunately, this year we’re short on time and too late for ordering: https://www.nationaldayofprayer.net/collections/downloads/products/national-day-of-prayer-love-one-another-theme-prayer-guide-download
- Close with prayer in which you personally yield your life to God. We give Him our requests, but we still want His will. When the hour is up, close the prayer meeting by simply praying something like, “Lord, I invited these neighbors for an hour of prayer and our time is now up. Thank you for bringing each one. Would you bless them for coming and bless their homes. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, Amen.” If there is anyone who wants private, personal prayer, invite them to remain afterward. You and your Christian hosts will pray for them.
- Invite your guests to stay for simple refreshments—coffee or juice, cookies or muffins.