3 celebrations I'm looking forward to this week

This week marks three amazing and important dates to me and others: the 25th anniversary of WND, the 70th National Day of Prayer, and my own mother’s 101st birthday. Let me celebrate each in turn.

First and foremost, my wife, Gena, and I want to congratulate the pioneer and paragon of independent online news, the founder and CEO of WND, Joseph Farah, and his beloved wife and fellow culture warrior, Elizabeth.

A few weeks ago, Joseph did a stellar job reflecting upon the 25 years of WND history. It’s a must-read here. The Farahs have experienced so many mountain tops and deep valleys, both professionally and privately. Their story reads like one of my action films!

Here’s just one WND success and early breakthrough, as Joseph explained: “WND became the first online news agency to be granted standing press credentials to cover the U.S. Capitol. But it wasn’t easy. It took two years of lobbying and ultimately a personal lawsuit threat against the credentialing board members for obstructing WND’s First Amendment rights. This action broke ground for all other alternative news sites in the future.”

I thank Joseph for tapping me back in 2006 to write a weekly column. It’s been an awesome journalistic journey, through which I’ve been able to inspire and educate tens of millions of people in America and around the world.

I also want to thank three gifted and amazing column editors over the past 16 years: Chelsea Haggard, Patrice Lewis and presently Ron Strom. We commend a few other long-running WND news editors and warriors who all have helped us out at different times: David Kupelian, Bob Unruh, Art Moore and Joe Kovacs. We thank you all for your contributions week after week over the past quarter-century of WND’s monumental influence through online news and commentary. And Gena and I pray for God’s greatest blessings in WND’s 26th year. The world needs you more now than ever!

Speaking of prayer, on April 17, 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the annual observance of a National Day of Prayer, and that it must be declared by each subsequent president at a date of his choosing. Thirty-six years later, in 1988, President Reagan amended the law, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer.

This Thursday, May 5, marks the 70th National Day of Prayer, or NDP, when leaders from across our land are once again calling all Americans to unite in prayer for our nation and world. Watch this NDP video explain the heart and purpose behind it.

America’s leaders have been calling for national prayer since its inception. George Washington called for our nation’s first federal day of prayer and thanksgiving when he said on Oct. 3, 1789, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” (There’s an amazing History of Prayer in America on the NDP website, with dozens of examples from the 1700s and 1800s.)

According to TimeAndDate.com, this week’s NDP will bring together “more than 35,000 prayer gatherings … conducted by about 40,000 volunteers across the United States. Several million people are expected to participate in this call to prayer.”

Please go to NDP’s official website to locate a prayer gathering event near you, and join with millions across our land to unite in prayer on Thursday, May 5. The website also offers several downloadable prayer guides for youth and adults, concerning what to pray and how to pray for our nation.

Franklin Graham explained a few years ago the priority national prayers should have: “Interceding for those in authority is not an option. It is a biblical command that we are to obey: ‘I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made 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’ (1 Timothy 2:1-2).”

Historian David Barton took it an additional step by giving additional reasons why he believed we should pray, especially on the NDP: “First, because God tells us to (1 Timothy 2:1-4), and it is important that we obey Him (John 14:15, Acts 5:32). Second, because God answers prayer (Matthew 21:22, John 14:13-14). Third, God honors prayer and turns His attention to those who pray. He takes note of people who pray and His ear remains open to them (such as in 2 Chronicles 7:14). Fourth, prayer not only gives God a vehicle by which He can respond and answer prayers but prayer also changes those who pray, for praying helps us to be God-conscious, and when we are God-conscious as individuals, our behavior is different than if we rarely think about God (Romans 1:28).”

Does our nation need prayer today? A 10-minute glimpse of any news broadcast will answer that question with a resounding yes. In our very volatile world today, I truly believe God and prayer are our only true hope and way out.

With so many tipping points in our own country right now, America reminds me of the time during the Constitutional Convention, when an elderly Benjamin Franklin stood to his feet and pondered whether or not the assembly still desired to depend upon God as they did in the beginning of the republic. Franklin stated, “And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”

It is a question every generation needs to ask and answer, especially ours.

Perhaps President Abraham Lincoln explained the greatest reason why we need to pray, when he led our country through the heart of the Civil War. It is as if Lincoln was speaking to our time today, when he spoke on March 30, 1863, and appointed a Day of National Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer: “[I]t is the duty of nations as well … and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord [Psalm 33:12]. … But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace – too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

One hundred and twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan put in this way: “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

Lastly, speaking of the power of prayer, I wouldn’t be the man I am without almost a century of prayers from my beloved mother, who turns 101 on this Wednesday, May 4.

I agree with Abraham Lincoln, who said, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”

The Rev. Dr. David Jeremiah summarized well the power of mom: “The simple, daily influences of prayer, persuasion, and promoting of godly values are the most powerful tools a mother can use to unleash the potential of her children.”

That’s so true of my mother and my beloved wife, Gena.

I look forward to celebrating you both this week: first, mom’s 101st birthday on Wednesday, then both of your Mother’s Day on Sunday! How blessed I am!

(If you are looking for a last minute Mother’s Day gift, please check out my mom’s inspirational autobiography, “Acts of Kindness: My Story,” on Amazon. In addition to being a fascinating insider view of our family, I guarantee you that it will encourage and bring joy to any mother or loved one you give it to.)

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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