Coming together to pray all during the day has become important to Christians each year on the first Thursday of May which became the National Day of Prayer in 1988. All over the nation and all through the day, men, women and children will stop today to pray alone, in small groups and large gatherings.
This is a time to seek God for the healing of our nation and our hearts. Honorary Chair for the National Day of Prayer Task Force, Joni Tada wrote,
Let’s covenant afresh to pray for America and what goes on in our nation’s capital. Because if you and I don’t cry out to God, then shame on us – the very monuments and memorials in Washington DC are crying out to God! The tallest memorial in that city is already praising the greatness of God: inscribed on the eastern face of the Washington Monument are these simple words carved in stone: Laus Deo. It’s Latin and it literally means ‘Praise God!’
Whether morning, evening or night set aside a time today to pray for each other and for our nation.
Photo by CharlesMedia
During my “play time,” I dreamed of being on stage and teaching. Playing mommy and cuddling doll babies didn’t ever interest me. However, writing and performing plays was the passion of my playmates and me. While standing before people is our nation’s leading fear, putting me in front of people was comfortable for me. Intuitively, it seemed to be “my place.”
Additionally, even before I became aware of the value (or problem) of meetings and organizations, I’ve loved the process of organizing people to be able to fulfill a mission or accomplish a task. In junior high and high school, I was part of the student government. I helped run campaigns for my friends, making posters and handing out flyers. I sat through the monthly church business meetings fascinated by the way the meetings were conducted.
Later, as an adult, I learned of people’s fear of being in front of a group. Inwardly, I was surprised because I assumed that everyone was like me.
Perhaps it is a great revelation to each person at some time in his or her life that we are uniquely built. Like the snowflake, God designs all of us with different needs and desires. Of course, all of us are told this fact but somehow it doesn’t actually connect until adulthood.
Within the mentally challenged community, that uniqueness is as clear as it is in the rest of us. When I met Allen, I was shocked by his blank personality. Then as I came to know him, I slowly learned the layers of his distinctiveness. He seldom spoke but he possessed a great sense of humor. He was energetic and a planner. Without speaking a word, he would organize the people on the van who were seated by the time he got on the van. Telling them how to get off the van, he directed the willing passengers with his “better way.”
Psalm 139:13 and 14 says, “You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well.” The value of who we are is exquisitely shown within the simple lives of the people in the mentally challenged community. They are people who quietly live in their sub-culture. Often, the rest of the world doesn’t even know this sub-culture exists. However, the developmentally disabled community has leaders and supporters. There are people who are able to control situations and people who desire to give people what they need.
Who are some of your members who impress you because of their ability to show their distinctive personalities and become leaders?
Drawn and thin, the teenage hospital patient sat for hours in the waiting room communicating with his friends through the Internet. They sent messages and talked. He laughed and typed. Looking at pictures sent to him, he would respond and receive even more messages. He was using a social media that I’d not seen before called My Space. This was perhaps 10 years ago and my mother was in the hospital. As I observed the young man and his Internet activities, I realized that I was watching the beginnings of a new world. It was my first introduction to the importance that the Internet played in the lives of people under 30 years old.
Later, several teens came to visit at our home. Sure, they filled their hours with computer games but they, also, played “shopping games” using online stores. Filling their carts at various items, they did “virtual” shopping without actually purchasing anything. In fact, these young men and women spent no time in front of the TV but gathered around the computer entertaining themselves for hours.
When I began to blog, I had only one true goal, I wanted ministry to person’s with developmental disabilities to have a presence on the Internet. I had seen that people under 30 use this resource for every imaginable activity. They play, shop, pretend, work and communicate on the Internet.
Three years later, after a good deal of resistance, I opened a FaceBook page. Then a Twitter account (@lindaghoward). My son wanted me to be able to SKYPE. He set up that account for me. I have a LinkedIn account. I text messages to my grandchildren, rather than email or make a phone call because that is how they want to hear from me.
While this constant learning process is probably good for my brain, I was thrilled that my blog can now automatically forward to my FaceBook page and my Twitter account. There is a limit to the time I want to invest inside this “brave new world.”
Eventually, the question must become, how much is enough? Juggling the Internet options available can become a full-time occupation. Those brave young men and women who seem to coast effortlessly from one Internet function to another are a marvel; but I’ve seen that even they aren’t able to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. One avid Twitter tweeted, “My wife says to return to real life with her. We are taking a few days off.”
I’m reminded of Solomon who wrote that there is no end to the number of books that can be written. In like manner, there is no end to the number of ways you can use the Internet in your ministry. However, Solomon concluded that we are to beware because much study wearies the mind and body.
What are the Internet programs that you find essential to conducting your life and connecting with the Lord? What are some of the things you would like to access but you don’t have time to do?
The first Thursday of each year was declared as the National Day of Prayer in 1988. Harry Truman signed legislation in 1952 to establish an annual day of prayer but it was a different day each year until the 1988 law as passed. Of course, throughout the history of the US, from time to time, days of prayer have been declared by Congress or Presidential proclamation.
Across the nation at various times during the day, Christians will gather Thursday, May 5 to pray at churches, outdoor parks, school yards, inside and outside city hall buildings. They will stop at state houses and state capitol buildings to pray.
The largest event will be a webcast in which Joni Eareckson Tada will the be main speaker. Mrs. Tada is serving as the 2011 Honorary Chairperson for the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Her position is of great significance within the disability community because she has been paralyzed from the neck down since a diving accident at the age of 19.
This is a portion of the message she has written regarding this year’s day of prayer.
Laus Deo… Praise God
When I was a child growing up in Baltimore, our school took a field trip to Washington DC. As our bus drove down Constitution Avenue, I gazed at the tall, gleaming monuments and the impressive buildings with Greek style columns. When my classmates and I climbed the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and stood awestruck in front of Abe Lincoln, I felt as though I were in the vestibule of heaven. Sitting by the cherry trees near the Jefferson Memorial, I could barely eat my sack lunch, I was so overwhelmed with the wonder of our nation’s capital. For the rest of our tour, I’d gawk at all that white marble and think, God must live here.
I was soon to discover that Washington DC is not where God lives. For the rest of her message, click here.