Much to be gained from prayer

By Joan Clayton: PNT columnist

In the midst of national trauma comes an outpouring of prayer.

From Omaha Beach in World War II to Columbine, the Oklahoma City bombing and the horrendous 9/11, we need prayer more than ever. On May 7 we will pray in deep hunger for spiritual renewal. Throughout history, Americans of faith have sought the Lord’s help in meeting life’s challenges and adversities.

We especially will be a corporate body in praying for our nation on May 7. The theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer is “Prayer … America’s Hope!”

Fear, uncertainty and anxiety have flooded our nation. This is nothing new.

From biblical times, I am reminded of Queen Esther’s plea for the nation of Israel. Mordecai, her uncle, said to her, “Who knows but what you attained royalty for such a time as this?” I’m sure she realized the consequences of her actions, yet she kept her trust in God, saying, “If I perish, I perish.”

What about Joseph? His prayers turned the tide for his people. His unwavering faith saved his people from famine. In all of his problems, he kept praying. I love his statement when he faced his brothers for their cruelty toward him: “God meant it for good.”

Despite the many problems and challenges, those who pray have a steadfast hope and trust in God’s faithfulness. Let us pray that righteousness will prevail. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, we are admonished to pray “for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

When we approach God in true repentance and humility, seeking forgiveness for ourselves and our nation, God responds: “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened” (Jonah 3:10 NIV).

Believing prayer makes a difference. Pray while you go through your day, driving the car, working in the yard, shopping or walking. Use any time available to pray.

Prayer has changed history, averted disasters and enabled ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Prayer changes attitudes. It relieves tension and focuses on God. Prayer is communication with God, and our sincerity and openness are valuable to Him.

We are commanded to pray. (Matthew 6:6) We are to follow Jesus’ example. (Luke 5:16) We pray to receive power over evil. (1 John 5:4) Only God has the solution for our country’s ills.

Prayer changes situations. People who pray hold this nation together. Prayer warriors are powerful, and their mountain moving-faith accomplishes much. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen” (James 5:16 NCV).

I like to think when we pray for others, a wall of love surrounds them. Those walls are made with sincere care and concern. Those “prayer walls” keep positive affirmations coming. Those prayers give a support system that enhances healing.

In times of crisis, we realize how desperately we need prayers for our country and for each other. Praying for others requires sacrifice. It is motivated by love and is one of the highest pinnacles of unselfishness.

Prayer makes a difference. Let us humbly fall to our knees, seeking God with honor, truth and respect. How can God withhold judgment if we don’t intercede for our country?

We can light this nation. Prayer can change America. We serve a mighty God. He hears the cry of his people.

Let your light shine with flames of faith and heartfelt prayer!

Your prayers are “America’s hope!”

Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: