Yesterday morning I took part in a discussion on Sunday Sequence about a National Day of Prayer. The other participants were Professor Norman Nevin and Professor Russell Stannard and Will Leitch was in the chair. The discussion was prompted by the fact that Sunday 27 June was set aside as a special Day of Prayer in four American states to pray for God's help in the current situation caused by the BP oil leak.
The call came from four Gulf Coast governors. Alabama's Bob Riley, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and Texas' Rick Perry all issued proclamations calling on prayer for the spill.
'Throughout our history, Alabamians have humbly turned to God to ask for His blessings and to hold us steady during times of struggle. This is certainly one of those times,' Riley said in a statement. Riley's proclamation reads in part, 'Citizens of Alabama are urged to pray for the well-being of our fellow citizens and our State, to pray for all those in other states who are hurt by this disaster, to pray for those who are working to respond to this crisis, and to pray that a solution that stops the oil leak is completed soon.'
Perry's proclamation says it 'seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join with their fellow Gulf Coast residents' and others across the country and around the world 'to thank God, seek his wisdom for ourselves and our leaders, and ask him for his merciful intervention and healing in this time of crisis.'
Barbour's notes that the spill threatens the 'livelihoods of our fellow citizens, the environmental beauty of our coast, and our quality of life.'
Jindals's says 'Louisianians all across the world are united in hope for an end to this catastrophic event and pray for' the coast's recovery. The Louisiana Senate also passed a resolution encouraging people to participate in the day of prayer.
There were times in the past when the United Kingdom had national days of prayer. Several times during the Second World War King George VI called the nation to prayer.
Today however the United Kingdom is a much more secular society and a place where atheism is much more assertive. Nevertheless the Bible commands us to pray for the nation.