NASHVILLE (BP) – The National Day of Prayer mobilizes unified public prayer for America. Southern Baptists should fully embrace and participate in this day as we call upon God on behalf of America.
What is the National Day of Prayer? In 1952, President Truman signed a law stating that one day a year, the president of the United States would declare a National Day of Prayer. In 1988, this law was unanimously amended by the House and Senate, setting aside the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer. It was signed by President Ronald Reagan, and thus our annual observation of the National Day of Prayer as we know it began.
Just think about Christ followers from all across America, from Maine to Hawaii, stopping to pray for America on the same day. Thousands of gatherings will be held in homes, businesses, schools and churches, from rural counties to urban settings. America is unified in prayer on this day. There are many who also join us from around the world to pray for America. It is truly a special day.
I am asking all Southern Baptists to mark your calendar for Thursday, May 6, 2021 .  Whether in person or virtually, join with other believers in observing the National Day of Prayer as leaders from across our nation issue a call to pray for America. If you are unable to participate in a National Day of Prayer gathering, yet are already engaged in a prayer ministry during the week or on Sunday, then focus your prayer times on America during this first week of May. If assistance is needed in your individual or corporate prayer time, consider using this guide to pray for America. 
Why pray for America?
When I served as president of the National Day of Prayer from 2017-2019, I learned there were Christians from all across America who have a deep conviction to pray for our nation continually. America’s need for prayer has never been more urgent. Watching and reading the news, we know of the unrest, brokenness, division and tension in our country. Security threats seem to be everywhere, and we often wonder if things will ever get better or just keep getting worse.
Government cannot fix us. Politics will not heal us. Prayer is our avenue to appeal to God on behalf of America and her people. We must cry out to God in desperation, asking for mercy, wisdom and healing for our nation, our leaders and our people. Prayer comes before Gospel advancement, a movement of God and revival in the Church. Prayer will move us toward unity like nothing else can.
Prayer is our single greatest action in this moment. We must bring prayer back to the forefront of every part of American life. When we believe God can do anything, we pray like it really matters. God can do more in a moment than we can do in a lifetime. When we pray, we are believing this and depending on God to move.
Southern Baptists must pray for America. We must join with our brothers and sisters in Christ on the National Day of Prayer and appeal to God for our nation.
The National Day of Prayer exists for us to pray for America
Southern Baptists do not hold a monopoly on prayer. The National Day of Prayer is for all of us to pray together for our nation. It is a day of multiple denominations, multiple ministries, all generations, all ethnicities and all languages to join together as we pray for America.
Local churches are the backbone of this prayer movement. Churches are called upon to be a house of prayer for all nations (Mark 11:17), and this includes Southern Baptist churches as well as others. The National Day of Prayer is a day for Southern Baptists to join with other churches as the family of Christ to pray. As we unify as one family in Christ, we can show the rest of the world that we are more alike than different, and we believe in the power of prayer.
Find your place to join the National Day of Prayer
To find more information on the National Day of Prayer, visit the website . You will be able to locate a gathering planned in your area. If there is not one planned, you can host one. If you can pray with others, you can host a gathering. It need not be large or last a long time. A virtual or in-person prayer gathering can take place in schools, businesses, churches, homes, parks and on the steps of city halls and state capitols.
Whether you pray in a small, intimate setting or in a large, corporate gathering, your prayer makes a difference. Your participation matters. Southern Baptists, embrace this day to pray with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Invite others to join you – family members, coworkers and friends who are willing to pray for our nation. People from all backgrounds will participate in a prayer gathering on the National Day of Prayer. Most of the time, you need only ask.
Southern Baptists, let’s pray for America on Thursday, May 6, 2021.
Now is the time to lead.