Today is the National Day of Prayer. Apparently having a day where the nation is called to prayer is a tradition going back to George Washington. In 1952, Truman signed a joint resolution by Congress declaring an annual, national day of prayer, and in 1988 Reagan signed an amendment to the law making the first Thursday in May the official National Day of Prayer.
I remember gathering around the flagpole in front of my high school with other students to pray when I was a teenager; this wasn't really considered daring, since I went to a private Christian school, but it still made a statement. Unfortunately I lost the habit of private prayer during the ten years I considered myself to be agnostic, but since I sought out the Roman Catholic Church seven years ago I've been working to reestablish it in my life.
During Lent, I read this delightful little book:
First published in 1949, this book by Anglican theologian John Baillie was an incredible resource, and I felt that it deepened my prayer life. Unfortunately, since I finished it, I've struggled to maintain the same depth and sincerity, not to mention remembering to dedicate even a brief time to solitary prayer every morning and evening.
Recently, at the recommendation of several blogs and a number of good Catholic girlfriends, I've started reading this:
I just finished the third chapter, entitled "God and Godiva" and written by Karen Edmisten, which discusses ways to incorporate prayers into the busy everyday life of a Catholic mother. This chapter really spoke to me, and reminded me that I need to get back to the business of memorizing some of the beautiful Catholic traditional prayers with my children, such as the Morning Offering and the Memorare. In addition to developing/enhancing my own prayer life, hopefully these prayers will help my children establish the habit of daily prayer.
Meanwhile, I'm going to make it a point to spend a little extra time in prayer today. I have much to be grateful for, and many things to pray for as well - chief among them, that God will be with me and help me as I develop this new Classical Conversations community that will start this fall. I'm encouraged and discouraged on a daily basis - encouraged because I do have a few wonderful families already signed up, and discouraged because it's slower going than I'd like and I'm truly terrified we won't have enough students to really make a go of it in August. I suppose I need to pray for patience as well!
What will you pray for on this National Day of Prayer?