Dr. Ronnie Floyd, the president of the National Day of Prayer, tells Newsmax that he believes the National Observance being held Thursday evening in Statuary Hall could be the start of something truly historic — the next great spiritual revival to heal an American commonwealth torn by enmity, strife, and mistrust.
“Even though things are difficult and people are struggling,” Floyd told Newsmax on Monday in an exclusive interview, “we know that historically speaking we have the spiritual heritage we have because this country had some of those great moments with God that literally altered society and altered the future of the nation — and they were called Great Awakenings.”
The former president of the Southern Baptist Convention adds: “We’re due — we’re overdue — for the next Great Awakening in the United States.”
But before a spiritual revival can occur, Floyd says, Christians must learn to set aside their differences for the sake of a greater cause.
“A divided church cannot call a divided nation to unity,” says Floyd. “And we need desperately as the church, all followers of Jesus Christ, to come together around what really matters and come together for the good of the nation.”
Finding unity in a higher cause may sound farfetched when the media megaphone amplifies every salvo someone launches on social media. But unity is precisely the theme of Thursday’s National Day of Prayer.
Daystar Television Network will stream the National Observance on Capitol Hill live. An estimated 35,000 prayer gatherings will be held nationwide, led by a small army of 40,000 volunteers. According to the event’s organizers, millions of Americans in all 50 states will pause Thursday to pray. Smaller gatherings will be held in churches, schools, businesses, homes, and neighborhoods around the country.
Rev. Greg Laurie, the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., agrees that Christians must model unity before they can expect comity to break forth in society at large.
He tells Newsmax that today’s church “is too divided over political issues — people are angry and are taking sides. It’s okay to have different views, but what we don’t need is red evangelicals versus blue evangelicals. Believers need to set aside minor differences for the sake of the Gospel.”
The prayer day actually predates the nation’s founding. The Continental Congress issued a proclamation in 1775 establishing a day of prayer. President George Washington called for a national prayer day in November 1789.
In the modern era, President Harry S. Truman established the annual spring observance as the National Day of Prayer in 1952 following a joint resolution of Congress. And in 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a law designating the first Thursday of each May for the annual observance.
While this year’s event focuses on unity, it also celebrates diversity — or as the national motto puts it, “Out of many, one.”
The multiethnic, cross-denominational tenor of this year’s event includes participation by actress-speaker Priscilla Shirer, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference founder Rev. Sammy Rodriguez, the co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., and the world-renowned Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers.
Dr. Floyd will lead the event that begins at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. He also will conduct a special interview with Pastors Frank and Sherri Pomeroy of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas.
The Pomeroys were thrust into the national spotlight last November when a shooter opened fire during their Sunday morning service. Their 14-year-old daughter was among the 25 people killed.
Floyd says this year’s National Day of Prayer observance will demonstrate once again that America’s strength is its people, not its government.
“I do believe that America knows it’s broken,” says Floyd. “I think that people know that politics and government will not be the ultimate answers to our problems. I think they’re important, but they’re not the ultimate answer to our problems.
“So while people may not know as a whole where that answer is, that’s where the National Day of Prayer fits in: For us to call people to talk to God about where we are, and hopefully use it as an opportunity to reintroduce who God is in this generation.”