Our prayer and the prayer of all God-fearing people in the world do the work. Otherwise, if they were to cease, God have mercy on the world! (from Martin Luther’s exposition of Matthew 23:39)
Thursday, May 7th is the Day of Supplication and Prayer in the Christian Church, and also the National Day of Prayer in our nation. I invite you to take the opportunity that day to give our Lord thanks and praise for all He has blessed us with, namely forgiveness and eternal life. Also ask Him for healing, either for yourself for whatever ails you, or for your neighbor. Pray for the one holy Christian and apostolic Church across the globe. Pray for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, our sister congregations in the Portland area and our church. Pray for peace, good government and an increase in our nation’s moral character. There’s a lot to speak to God about and we could pray for hours if we listed everything on our hearts and minds. Thankfully, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sherwood will be open from 6 am to 8 pm on the 7th. No, it’s not a 14-hour worship service, but we will have Morning Prayer at 6 am for those of you heading into work, and an Evening Prayer at 7 pm. Each will be about thirty minutes in length. In between the morning and evening prayer, the sanctuary will be open for you to come in at your leisure to spend as much time as the Holy Spirit prompts you in individual prayer. Or you can come with a friend or family member.
I realize this is out of the norm for our congregation; at least since I’ve been here we have not observed the Day of Supplication and Prayer. But the occasion serves many purposes. First of all, it’s another act of worship in which God is glorified and exalted above all other things. In other words, it’s a First Article thing (remember your catechism?) Second, we know already that God hears our prayers and answers them according to His good and gracious will. Everything else follows such as invoking a blessing upon our nation and civil government; peace and protection, healing, etc. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ in the LCMS and associated churches in fellowship across the world will be praying with us as well. And it’s good for you as a Christian. Prayer is a Spirit-given practice which builds faith, encourages the heart and mind of not only yourself, but those who pray with you.
But you may be saying to yourself, “I’m not good at praying” or “I don’t not how to pray” or “I don’t know what to pray for! Why should I come?” I believe there’s a little of this in all of us, myself included and even in our “prayer warriors”. That’s why on May 7th, when you come to pray, there will be some resources to help you. Also, I will be available all day to pray with you if you wish. Remember, we are a cloud of witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a community of saints who worship the risen Lord—not a bunch of lone rangers.
To help better prepare you for this special day, here’s an outline of what to expect:
6:00 AM Sanctuary opens and Morning Prayer from the Lutheran Service Book.
6:30 AM Sanctuary open for individual or group prayer. Resources available for prayer.
A prayer journal will also be open for you to write specific prayer requests in.
9:00 AM A special prayer led by me in the sanctuary will coincide with similar prayers given amongst our sister congregations across the nation. You can also pray this prayer at home at 9:00 AM as well. The prayer will be made available to you ahead of time.
7:00 PM Evening Prayer from the Lutheran Service Book.
7:30 PM Go home and as Luther says, “Go to bed at once and in good cheer.”
May the Holy Spirit guide and preserve you in the true faith to life everlasting, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!