National Day of Prayer (Part 1): 5 Reasons to Pray- Shades of Grace | Natalie Nichols

National Day of Prayer (Part One): 5 Reasons to Pray

National Day of Prayer: 5 Reasons to Pray

Today is the National Day of Prayer. Why is it vital that we observe this special day and agree with others in prayer? There are multiple reasons, but today I’d like to consider five:

1. We Are One Nation Under God

The National Day of Prayer website features “Still…Under God,” an article by John Bornschein, the Task Force Vice Chairman. Regarding the history of the phrase “under God,” he writes,

Mr. Bellamy [the man who wrote the original pledge of allegiance] himself … used the phrase [“under God”] many times in 1892. … William Bradford, author of the Mayflower Compact, also used the phrase frequently when he dedicated America to the “advancement of the Christian faith.” More than 21 of the Founding Fathers—including John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson—used the term “under God” when addressing affairs in America.

The term “under God” dates back to the 13th century when Sir Henry Bracton (ca. 1210–1268), the father of modern law, wrote that the king was “sub Deo, et Lege” (“under God and Law”)—the phrase etched above the doors at Harvard Law School. This core philosophy of leadership was the basis of contention between Sir Edward Cokes and King James (1620) when the king was reminded that leaders must be accountable to God or nations will fall back into tyranny and justice cannot prevail. This historic dialog is etched on the door of the Supreme Court.

Ultimately, we are a nation that is spiritually, morally, and legally “under God”—and being so is healthy for this generation and the many to come. (Tweet this)

2. Being “Under God” is Healthy for the Nation, Defining Morality and Law

No longer being a nation “under God” would lead to devastating moral collapse. (Bornschein gives an excellent example of how this occurred in a mere 48-hour period on a cruise ship.)

The principles that emerge from being a nation “under God” enable us to define right and wrong:

When confronting the evils of the Nazi regime, it was the principles of being a nation “under God” that enabled the prosecution to define right and wrong and the crimes against humanity. At the Nuremberg Trials, Justice Robert H. Jackson set the record straight when he said, “We do not accept the paradox that legal responsibility should be the least where power is the greatest. We stand on the principle of responsible government declared some three centuries ago to King James by Lord Chief Justice Coke, who proclaimed that even a King is still, ‘under God and the law.’ ”

I praise God that our Founding Fathers were devout men of faith. If not for their wisdom and reverence for God, we would have had no laws allowing us to bring justice to those murderers. It was their vision that generations to come would honor God in this way. You need only to pick up the original text of the New England Primer, written in 1687, to see that it was our leaders who wanted all men to read and write, knowing the Scriptures, so they could keep the future leaders of this land accountable to God.

3. It is Our Duty as Citizens to Recognize God and Seek Him on Behalf of the Nation

We Must Recognize God’s Authority, Guidance, and Care

Bornschein writes:

We are one nation under God, and a nation that is under God must stand under His virtues and give Him the praise and recognition for his bountiful blessings that He so rightfully deserves. Accumulative wisdom is not sufficient to navigate the challenges of the day.

Therefore, “it is the duty of all nations to recognize the providence of Almighty God” – George Washington, October 1789. (Tweet this)

Remembering the God of Fathers is what prompted Thomas Jefferson to share these powerful words on March 4, 1801:

“Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.”

(You can read Bornschein’s entire article here.)

We Must Also Repent

In the Old Testament, Daniel sought God on behalf of his people. Like Daniel, we must turn to God and repent for the sins of our people.

“We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your command and laws” (Daniel 9:5).

As I explained in this post, God cannot bless a nation that turns away from Him. Doing what is right, living according to God’s standard, exalts and blesses a nation. Because God is sovereign and holy, He cannot bless a nation that has turned away from Him.

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

We have to turn from our sins and turn to God. Repentance is necessary. We cannot expect God to hear our prayers if we aren’t going to honor Him as God. He comes to us on His terms — not on our terms.

The healing of our land doesn’t depend on the entertainment industry cleaning up its act or politicians legislating morality. It depends on the Church repenting and returning to God.

“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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

There is no mention of the sins of politicians or judges or others in authority. But there is mention of us — if “my people.” That’s us! Our repentant prayer will unlock the outpouring of God’s healing on our land.

4. There is Significant Precedent for Days of National Prayer

National Precedent

The tradition for national prayer began in 1774 at the First Congress when Reverend Jacob Duché of Christ Church, Philadelphia was asked to open with prayer and lead Congress in a Bible reading.

Rev. Duché read Psalm 35, which was the Anglican Church’s assigned Scripture reading for that day. Then he prayed:

O Lord, our Heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from Thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth, and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires, and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor, and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee; to Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give; take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries…All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Saviour, Amen.

Biblical Precedent

More important than precedent in our nation’s history, there is Biblical precedent for designated days of national prayer.

  • The prophets Ezra and Joel called for the people to unite in humility and prayer before God (Nehemiah 8-9, Ezra 9, Joel 1-3).
  • I’ve written here and here about a time when Samuel called the people of Israel to gather, fast and pray, repent, and seek God.
  • In 2 Chronicles all Israel gathered to worship and pray to God. (2 Chron. 6:13-42)

National days of prayer — days in which a nation gathers to pray and seek God — began in the Bible.

5. God Seeks Intercessors

“And I sought for a man…that should…stand in the gap before me for the land,
that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
Ezekiel 22:30

When God completed the new creation in His son, Christ took His place on the throne. The work of extending His kingdom was given to men. Christ lives to pray and intercede (Hebrews 7:25).

Prayer is the highest exercise of His royal right and privilege as Priest and King upon the throne. Everything that Jesus was to do in Heaven He would do through His people on earth. In His divine wisdom, God decided that the work of His Spirit would be determined by the prayer of His people. He waits for their intercession.

Andrew Murray writes,

“God rules the world and His church through the prayers of His people. That God should have made the expansion of His kingdom to such a large extent dependent on the faithfulness of His people in prayer is a stupendous mystery and yet an absolute certainty. God calls for intercessors; in His grace He has made His work dependent on them. He waits for them.” [1]


  • America is spiritually, morally, & legally “under God”—& being so is good for us as a nation. Click to tweet Tweet
  • “It is the duty of all nations to recognize the providence of Almighty God. ~ George Washington, 1789 Click to tweet Tweet
  • “Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law — Thomas Jefferson Click to tweet Tweet
  • “… through obedience to Thy law, [may we] show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth.” — Thomas Jefferson  Click to tweet Tweet
  • “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” ~ Proverbs 14:34  Click to tweet Tweet
  • “God rules the world and His church through the prayers of His people. ~ Andrew Murray Click to tweet Tweet
  • “God calls for intercessors; in His grace He has made His work dependent on them. He waits for them.” ~ Andrew Murray Click to tweet Tweet


A Moment of Worship: We Pray

We Pray from BarlowGirl
featuring Adam Agee of Stellar Kart, Leigh Cappillino of Point Of Grace, &
David Leonard of Jackson Waters

Download from Amazon or iTunes


Question: What other reasons would you add to this list? Why are you praying for America today?






  1. Andrew Murray, Andrew Murray on Prayer (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1998 ), 604


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Shades of Grace will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Leave a Reply