Two years ago I had the privilege of serving as the honorary chairman for the National Day of Prayer. When I was asked, naturally, I felt very honored. But I have to admit my next thought was, with all of my responsibilities, when am I going to find the time to prepare? I mean, you don’t just waltz up there and wing it! The people in Washington have better things to do than listen to some preacher ramble. If you’re going to accept a responsibility like that, you better have your stuff together. So, at first I considered saying no.
But I decided to participate for two reasons. First, it was a huge honor. You don’t casually say no to something as important as this, especially when you consider the personal sacrifices many of our leaders are making to serve our nation.
I remember having dinner with a Cabinet member many years ago. “So, what’s it like to be in a position like that?” I asked. I’ll never forget his response.
He looked up from his plate, set his fork down, and quietly asked, “Chuck, have you ever been hung in effigy?”
“Um . . . well, no . . . never.” He then described how that had happened to him earlier that very day. I sat and stared at him. No words came to me.
I realized I was asked to be a part of our nation praying for these straight-thinking, courageous servant-leaders. Such a small sacrifice of my time compared to what they give us.
I had another reason for participating. It occurred to me that taking part in the National Day of Prayer was my opportunity to underscore the importance of prayer. How easy to overlook its priority! It’s not unlike the decision we face every day concerning prayer. I mean, who ever has time to pray? Who says, Ah . . . I’ve got some extra time I don’t know what to do with . . . so, I think I’ll pray!?
Let’s face it; taking time to pray means you have to set aside something else that’s important. It’s an investment. Investments require that we sacrifice something today for the sake of something greater tomorrow.
My point, my fellow-pastor? We never have the time to pray. We have to make it.
It didn’t take me long to recognize this for what it is: a very worthy investment, something well worth my time. Suddenly, saying yes seemed the only answer I could justify.
P.S. To learn more about the National Day of Prayer, or to find out what you can pray for, visit the official Web site at www.ndptf.org.