"Day of Prayer" by Harold Shank

 

National Day of Prayer

Harold Shank
National Spokesperson for CCFSA

The National Day of Prayer for Children among Churches of Christ falls on October 3, 2004. Although such a day may seem more political than biblical, we find rationale for such an event in the Old Testament book of Joel. Writing in the midst of a devastating locust plague, Joel reports on how national leaders called for a national day of prayer. Such a day is announced twice in the book: 1:13-20 where the prayer is actually written out, and 2:12-17 where the participants in the day of prayer are listed.

The national emergency affects even children. The book opens with Joel commanding the people to tell their grandchildren about this plague (1:2-4). Among the participants in the national day of prayer are “the c

hildren” even those “nursing at the breast” (2:16).

The exact nature of their national crisis is so ambiguous that no one is completely certain about when and why this book was written. Some suppose that the book of Joel was, in fact, an order of worship for a National Day of Prayer to be used by God’s people whenever crisis strikes.

What is the crisis that prompts the “National Day of Prayer for Children among Churches of Christ?” There are two: First, children in America are in crisis. National periodicals regularly report on the large numbers of American children who live in poverty, face daily hunger, go to inadequate schools, are shot by guns, and who die needlessly in infancy. Additionally, the number of American children in state custody who need foster parents is alarming. The crisis extends well beyond America to the third world where over 30,000 children die daily from starvation and easily cured childhood diseases.

The second crisis is that we tend to forget the first crisis. It is hard for me to imagine that, in my home state, 10,000 children are in state custody. I forget it because it is a painful memory. When I block it out of my mind, I also drop those children out of my prayers.  

Church leaders, from the priests and ministers of Joel 1:13 to the preachers and elders of 21st century Churches of Christ, carry on the work of responding to national emergencies with a national day of prayer. Children in America and the world are in crisis. Let us rise up and commit one day to repentance, fasting and prayer. If you need an order of service for the day, try the three chapters of the book of Joel.

 

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