Thursday, May 2, 2019


NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

1 Samuel, Chapter 21, Verse 13
David took note of these remarks and became very much afraid of Achish, king of Gath.


One wonders why David was so afraid. According to David Roper[1] this was David’s testing.

Just about the time I think I've got it all together, some unsightly emotional display, some inappropriate reaction, some other embarrassing behavior blows my cover and I have that horrible experience of being found out. It's humiliating! But humiliation is good for the soul. Through it God deals with our self-admiration and pride. Without it we could never make the most of our lives. The trouble with us is that we want to be tremendously important. It's a terrible trait, the essential vice, the utmost evil. It's the sin that turned the devil into the demon he became. Obscurity and humility, on the other hand, release God's greatness. It is the basis of our life with God and our usefulness in this world. Thomas à Kempis wrote, "The more humble a man is in himself, and the more subject unto God; so much more prudent shall he be in all his affairs, and enjoy greater peace and quietness of heart." Because ambition and pride is the center of our resistance to God and the source of so much unhappiness, "God opposes the proud" (James 4:6); he brings us to our knees, where He can then begin to do something with us.

David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Isn't he the one they sing about in their dances: 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands'?"

David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So, he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. Achish said to his servants, "Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me?

Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this [mad] man come into my house?"

David [then] left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 21:10-22:1). David fled south from Nob — with Saul in hot pursuit — and he made his way across the Judean hills and through the Valley of Elah where a few years before he had engaged Goliath in combat. It was to Gath — the home of his enemies — that David now turned for shelter from Saul. I don't know what possessed David to flee to Gath. Perhaps he thought he wouldn't be recognized, since this was several years after his encounter with Goliath, and he had grown to manhood. Perhaps he disguised himself in some way. But David was instantly recognized, and his presence was reported to king Achish of Gath: "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Isn't he the one they sing about in their dances: 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands'?" The phrase "they sing" could be translated, "they still sing," suggesting a popular tune. David's fame was celebrated everywhere — even in Philistia. You have to understand the implications of this song. David had slain his ten thousands of Philistines; his fame had been established at the expense of bereaved Philistine women and children. Here was an opportunity to take vengeance. Furthermore, he was considered "the king of the land [of Israel]." By some means David became aware that he had been found out, and that he was facing imprisonment and death, so David lost his nerve (see Psalm 34 and 56). Motivated by sheer terror, David pretended to go mad, foaming at the mouth and scrawling crazy slogans on the walls. According to the title of Psalm 56 the Philistines "seized him" and brought him to Achish, who dismissed him with the contemptuous remark: "Behold, you see a madman! Why have you brought him to me? Am I lacking madmen that you have brought this to ply his madness against me? Must this come into my house?"

The word translated "mad man" (21:15), used three times by Achish, suggests something other than insanity. The word in other Near Eastern languages means "highly aggressive" — violent and dangerous — which gives added force to the king's remark: ". . . you have brought this to ply his madness [ravings] against me?"

Achish was afraid of David. The title to Psalm 34 supplies the conclusion of the matter: Achish "drove him away," out of his court and out of town — David, run out of town on a rail, utterly humiliated. David, the tough guy, the hero of Israel, the man they celebrated in song and dance had wimped out in the face of physical danger and made an utter fool of himself. With no place else to go, unwelcome in both Israel and Philistia, David fled into a labyrinth of broken ridges and rimrock about three miles from Gath and crept into a cave. The cavern in which he found refuge was called the Cave of Adullum (Adullam means refuge). It can't be located with certainty, but the traditional site is a dark vault located on a shelf at the top of a near-perpendicular cliff. In that dark place — humiliated, crushed, alone — he wrote Psalm 34 and Psalm 56. He was at his nadir. In that dark place David cried out to God: "This poor [humiliated] man called, and the LORD heard him." There he learned that "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (34:6, 18). Lord Byron wrote from Reading Jail, "How else but through a broken heart can Lord Christ enter in?"

Furthermore, David learned to boast in the Lord rather than in his own ability (34:2). Through shame and disgrace he became a more modest man — one whom God could shape and use.

National Day of Prayer[1]

National Day of Prayer is an annual holiday that serves to encourage Americans to pray, meditate and repent. It is also used to draw awareness to prayer and religious beliefs. The origins of National Day of Prayer date back to 1787. Benjamin Franklin, asked President George Washington to open each day with prayer, and to realize that prayer is deeply intertwined in the fabric of the United States.  However, it was not until February 1952 during the Korean War that Reverend Billy Graham petitioned support of Representative Percy Priest to observe a national day of prayer. On April 17, 1952 President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming National Day of Prayer, to encourage Americans to turn to God in prayer and meditation. National Prayer Day is celebrated every year on the first Thursday of May.

National Day of Prayer Facts & Quotes

·         2018 marks the 67th Anniversary of the National Day of Prayer
·         According to the Pew Research Center's Religious Landscape Study of 2015, 23% of Americans have indicated that they are not part of any religion.  The survey is based on responses of more than 35,000 Americans.
·         On October 3, 2008, The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sued President George W. Bush and staff to challenge the designation of a National Day of Prayer.  On April 14, 2011, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the National Day of Prayer did not cause harm and a feeling of alienation cannot suffice as injury.
·         According to the Pew Research Center, more than 55% of Americans pray every day.  60% of older Americans are likely to pray every day, compared to 45% of young Americans.
·         Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. - Mahatma Gandhi, Civil Rights and Freedom Activist

National Day of Prayer Top Events and Things to Do

·         Attend a religious service at your place of worship on the National Day of Prayer.
·         Offer a prayer for your loved ones and for those who are serving at the frontlines to protect America.
·         Attend a spiritual retreat that appeals to your beliefs.
·         Practice mindfulness by focusing upon the internal and external experience of each moment of life.  Mindfulness creates awareness and encourages one to be grateful for their blessings.
·         Attend a prayer event on Prayer Day. There are many local events, some religious based, others meditation oriented.




[1]https://www.wincalendar.com/National-Day-of-Prayer

National Prayer Day[2]

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, 2019


By the President of The United States Of America

A PROCLAMATION

Americans have always found power and unity through prayer. In 1988, the Congress, by Public Law 100-307, called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a "National Day of Prayer." Today, on this National Day of Prayer, we once again come together to give thanks to Almighty God for the bountiful blessings He has bestowed on our great Nation and to ask for His unfailing counsel. We also acknowledge our dependence on God's love to guide our families, communities, and our country away from harm and toward abundance and peace.
Our Nation acknowledges that religious liberty is a natural right, given to us by our Creator, not a courtesy that government extends to us. The First Amendment recognizes the freedom of religion and safeguards this right against government infringement. The United States' steadfast commitment to upholding religious freedom has ensured that people of different faiths can pray together and live in peace as fellow American citizens. We have no tolerance for those who disrupt this peace, and we condemn all hate and violence, particularly in our places of worship.

Throughout our Nation's history, Americans have consistently turned to God for guidance at pivotal moments. In 1775, the Continental Congress first declared a day of prayer, asking American patriots throughout the colonies to pray in earnest for divine help in forming our Republic. Seventy-five years ago, this June, President Franklin D. Roosevelt led the Nation in prayer as courageous Americans stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. He prayed: "Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor . . . Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith." Today, we also pray for strength for our Nation and our Armed Forces as we face new challenges at home and abroad.

Our Nation's honored tradition of prayer has sustained us and strengthened our trust that God will continue to watch over and accompany us through the best of times and the darkest hours. May we as Americans never forget the power of prayer and the greatness of our Creator. On this National Day of Prayer, let each of us, according to our own faiths, call upon God for His guidance and express our gratitude for the love and grace He bestows on us and our country.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 2, 2019, as a National Day of Prayer. I invite the citizens of our Nation to pray, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, in thanksgiving for the freedoms and blessings we have received, and for God's guidance and continued protection as we meet the challenges before us.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.
DONALD J. TRUMP


Meditation of The Sacred Heart for the Eve of the First Friday[1]

AMONG those who make profession of piety, but few know Jesus Christ and the treasures of His mercy; for this cause they give themselves up imperfectly to His love. Nothing can be more pleasing to the loving heart of Jesus than the childlike and unlimited confidence which we testify towards Him. It is related in the life of St. Gertrude that one day, as she reflected on the extraordinary graces which she had received, she asked herself how the revelations with which she had been favored could be made known to mankind with the greatest profit to their souls. Our Lord vouchsafed her this reply: It would be good for men to know, and never to forget, that I, their God and Saviour, am always present in their behalf before My heavenly Father. This should never be forgotten, that when through human frailty their hearts incline to sin I offer for them my merciful heart; and when they offend God by their works I present to Him My pierced hands and feet in order to appease the anger of divine justice. Our Lord Jesus Christ, says the great Apostle, is the mediator between God and man. He is now ascended into heaven in order to aid our prayers by His powerful mediation. Fail not, says the devout Blosius, to offer your good works and pious exercises to the most sweet heart of Jesus, in order that He may purify and perfect them; for His heart, so full of tenderness, takes delight in so divine a work. He is always ready to perfect in you whatever He sees imperfect or defective. Confidence is a key to the heart of Jesus. What may we not obtain from our fellow-creatures by the confidence we place in them? How much more, then, will it not obtain from God? How marvellous will be its effects if united with an absolute dependence on Him!:

Thus, when animated by faith, Peter walked on the waters as on dry land; but from the moment that fear entered his mind the waters lost their sustaining power, and his compassionate Master, extending His hand, said to him, “O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?” On another occasion also the tempest threatened to ingulf the apostles; but Jesus said to them, having commanded the winds and the sea: Where is your faith? why are you fearful? have you, then, no faith? In order to inspire us with a more lively confidence Our Lord Jesus Christ vouchsafed Himself to teach us the prayer which we address to God; so that our heavenly Father, touched by the words of His own Son, might refuse us nothing which we ask in His name; for this He would have us call Him by the sweet name of Father. But as this is not enough, in order to dispel all our diffidence, He carries His condescension even so far as to promise by a solemn oath to be always ready to listen to us. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever ye shall ask I will do. Timid souls, He would say, I swear to you by Myself, Who am the Way and the eternal Truth; by Myself, Who hate falsehood, and Who will punish perjury with eternal damnation; by Myself, Who can no more lie or deceive than I can cease to be that which I am, I swear promises, to you that I will grant what you ask of Me. These are Thy O my God, says St. Augustine; and who can fear being deceived when he relies on the promises made by uncreated Truth? When an upright man pledges you his word, you would believe that you erred if you showed after this any doubt or fear but if we receive the testimony of man, says St. John, the testimony of God, is it not greater? Our divine Saviour holds Himself so honored by this confidence that in a thousand passages in the Gospel He attributes more to the miraculous efficacy of prayer than to His own mercy. Not saying to those who have recourse to Him, it is My goodness and My power; but, It is thy faith, thy confidence, which has saved thee. Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed to St. Gertrude that he who prayed to Him with confidence was sure to obtain his request that He could not do otherwise than listen to his prayers. Whatever may be the grace you request, says Our Lord, be sure of obtaining it, and it will be granted you. This it is which St. John Climachus expresses in a like manner when he says, every prayer offered up with confidence exercises over the heart of God a kind of violence, but a violence which is sweet and pleasing to Him. St. Bernard compares the divine mercy to an abundant spring, and our confidence to the vessel which we make use of in order to draw these saving waters. The larger the vessel the greater the abundance of the grace we shall bring away. Moreover, this is conformable to the prayer of the psalmist, who sues for mercy in proportion to His confidence: Let Thy mercy be upon us, O Lord, according to the hopes we have placed in Thee. God has declared that He will protect and save all those who put their trust in Him. Let them be glad, then, exclaims David; let all those rejoice who hope in Thee, O my God; for they shall be happy for all eternity, and Thou wilt never cease to dwell in them. He elsewhere says, He who places his trust in the Lord shall dwell under the protection of the God of heaven. Yes, Lord, says St. Bernard, it is hope alone which opens to us the treasure of Thy mercies. The efficacy of prayer, says St. Thomas, is drawn from faith which be lieves in the promises of God, and confidence in the holy promises which He has made to us. We see, in short, in the sacred writings that the Son of God seems to take the faith of those who address themselves to Him as the rule for the help and the graces which He grants them, not only doing what they wish, but in the manner in which they ask it. Grace is attached to confidence; it is a kind of axiom that he who puts his trust in God shall never be confounded. And the wise man defies a contrary example to be cited amongst all the nations of the world. Our souls should be filled with consolations, says St. Ambrose, when we remember that the graces which God grants us are always more abundant than those which we ask; also, that the fulfilment of His promises always exceeds our hopes, as says Ecclesiastes. Let us have, then, a firm confidence, as St. Paul recommends us, since the Lord has promised to protect whosoever hopes in Him; and when obstacles present themselves which seem very difficult to overcome let us say with the Apostle, I can do all things in Him Who strengtheneth me. Who, indeed, was ever lost after having placed his trust in God? But we need not always seek a sensible confidence it will suffice if we earnestly desire it, for true confidence is an utter dependence on God, because He is good, and wishes to help us; because He is powerful, and able to help us; because He is faithful and has promised to help us.

Example. The venerable Mary of the Incarnation relates that it was revealed to her on a certain occasion that the Eternal Father was insensible to her prayer. She sought to know the cause, and an interior voice said to her: Petition Me through the heart of My Son, through which I will hear thee. Address yourselves to the heart of Jesus, the ocean of love and mercy, and He will obtain for you, pious soul, and also for all poor sinners, the most signal graces. Some time before her death St. Mechtilde earnestly asked of Our Lord an important grace in behalf of a person who had asked her to pray for her. Seized with fear at the sight of the terrible judgments with which the justice of God would visit this soul, she was weeping bitterly, when Our Lord addressed to her these consoling words, My daughter, teach the person for whom you pray that she must seek all she desires through My heart. There is no heart so hard as not to be softened by the heart of Jesus, nor any soul so disfigured by the leprosy of sin that His love cannot purify, console, and heal.



[1]Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Manhood of Christ Day 2, Ninth Week.





[1] http://www.ccel.us/mountain.chap9.html
[2] https://nationaldayofprayer.org/2019-presidential-proclamation

Comments

Popular Posts