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The National Day of Prayer! May 9, 2024 in Nassau County at First Baptist Church

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By Judge John Marshall Meisburg, Jr., 4-2-24

If ever there was a time to pray for America, it is now.  Our country is in trouble.  We are more divided as a people than any other time since the Civil War.  We are trillions of dollars in debt.  Millions of illegal aliens are crossing our border.  Inflation has ravaged the middle class making home ownership out of reach for many. The America dream is fading.  Mass school shootings are commonplace. Crime and homelessness plague our major cities.  Two wars rage in Israel and Ukraine.  A former President is running for re-election and is facing civil and criminal trials that many believe are politically motivated.  The people are losing faith in their government and legal system to be impartial. And every state is now facing the divisive issue of abortion. Many believe that we have lost our moral compass as a country.

So now is the time to pray.  The National Day of Prayer is scheduled for May 2, 2024.  In Nassau County, due to the Shrimp festival on that date, we are observing this event of May 9, 2024.  We will assemble on that date at First Baptist Church,1600 S. 8th Street in Fernandina Beach, at 6:30pm.   The program will begin with praise and worship, and will include Presenters and Intercessors for all 7 of the Centers of Influence in our culture.  Pastors from many churches will unite to pray for America. This event is open to the public and all residents of Nassau County are welcome and urged to attend!

As stated, we will pray for Godly intervention and influence over the “seven centers of influence” in our culture.  The seven centers are as follows: (1) Government (2) Military (3) Education (4) Business (5) Media and entertainment (6)Families and children and (7)Religion and churches.  In addition, we will pray for the Judicial system, the Unborn and Sanctity of Human life and Unity in Christ.

Some people say that praying for the 7 centers of influence is wrong and part of so-called “Christian Nationalism”.  I totally disagree.  America was clearly founded on Biblical and Christian principles.  George Washington, the Father of our country, who was a devout praying Christian, said that “religion and morality are the pillars of American democracy.” In his farewell address, Washington urged all Americans to “follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ so we will have a happy nation.”

Jesus told us in Matthew 5:13-16 to be “light and salt” in our culture and Jesus also said in Luke 19:13 to “occupy until I come”.

Prayer has led a great role in the success of America over 200 years. Christopher Columbus,  who discovered America, was a devout Christian who prayed his way across the Atlantic.  The French Huguenots prayed when they landed in modern day Jacksonville, Florida. Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry called for a Day of Fasting and prayer during the Revolutionary war.   Washington’s prayer in the snow at Valley Forge led to our victory in the Revolutionary war. Benjamin Franklin’s prayer in the Continental Congress led to the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln’s prayers in the White House led to victory in the Civil War and the end to slavery.  General George Patton’s “weather prayer” led to victory in World War II over the Nazis. And the prayer of President George Bush brought unity to our country after 9/11.

A National Day of prayer was first proposed by the Continental Congress in 1775.  President Lincoln issued a national day of prayer proclamation in 1863. President Reagan proclaimed the National Day of Prayer to be the first Thursday of every year, and that tradition has endured to this day.

There is also great Biblical support for a national day of prayer.  God commands us to pray for our nation, and for all those in position of power and authority in our government. In First Timothy 2:1-4, God says “First of all, then, I urge that petitions and prayers and intercession and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” 

God also promises to heal our land if we, as believers, pray to him with great humility and holiness. In Second Chronicles 7:14, God says: “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”   Notice that God directs this command to His people – the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  This underscores the importance of Christians praying for America.

Please join us on May 9th for the Nassau County observance of the National Day of Prayer, at First Baptist Church, Fernandina Beach, starting at 6:30 pm!  We will cry out to God for His mercy on our land.


Judge John Marshall Meisburg, Jr., was a U.S. Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration for 26 years in Jacksonville, Florida.  He retired as a judge in 2021 and is now living in Fernandina Beach, Florida with his wife of 43 years, Dr. Denise Meisburg. They have six children and 11 grandchildren.  Prior to being a judge, he was a lawyer with the Federal government for 23 years, serving in all three branches of the government, with the U.S. District Court, EEOC, Justice Department, Congress, FDIC and Office of Special Counsel (MSPB). He was in private law practice one year in Washington, D.C. and filed the lawsuit that became the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case on sexual harassment.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Kentucky, and a Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law. He is a lifelong Christian, being raised in the Baptist faith in Louisville, Kentucky.  He was an Elder at New Life Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville where he taught Sunday School, the Jewish Roots of the Faith and the Christian Heritage of America. He was a leader of both the National Day of Prayer and the House of Prayer in Jacksonville for over ten years. He has published ten books relating to Christian and legal ssues.  He is now a member of Living Waters World Outreach Center in Fernandina Beach, where he serves in the prayer and home group ministry, and is a member of the Board of Directors for Faith Christian Academy.

The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida

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