Ambitious evangelical planners hope that next month’s National Day of Prayer, to be held May 5, not only will help reestablish a long-neglected observance, but will launch a new mass movement of continual prayer for the revival of the nation and evangelization of the world.

President Reagan has called for “every citizen of this great nation to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her manner, for unity of the hearts of all mankind.”

The National Prayer Committee (NPC), responsible for overseeing the event, is determined to see that unified national prayer lasts longer than a day. The committee’s David Bryant, a missions specialist with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, is spearheading a drive for a national prayer network designed to pick up where National Prayer Day leaves off.

Bryant and the NPC are seeking to initiate local “concerts of prayer” (a term borrowed from the Great Awakening of the eighteenth century) throughout the nation. To achieve this aim, the NPC has sought the support of more than 20 evangelical organizations including the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Campus Crusade, and Inter-Varsity. The committee has planned seminars in which to train leaders for prayer concerts scheduled in 250 cities for the big day in May. The NPC’s main goal is to maintain the spirit and direction of these concerts long after the sun sets on prayer day.

The NPC is encouraging prayer for spiritual revival in the nation and for world evangelization. Organizers are also hoping to promote a greater world awareness among United States Christians. The committee is calling for gubernatorial and mayoral proclamations in addition to the President’s. It has called also for the tolling of bells in churches and public buildings at noon on May 5. With the slogan “Take five at 12,” the committee will summon citizens to five minutes of unified prayer for the nation.

President Reagan has proclaimed National Prayer Day well in advance of its date. This, according to the NPC, is to avoid catching citizens unawares, and to keep the event from being ignored by the media and neglected by churches.

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