The Urbino Bible – Limited Edition at Celebrate Your Faith
The Urbino Bible, commissioned by Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, in the late 15th Century, is a stunning work of art in its own right. The Urbino Bible is one of the rare examples of artistic collaboration in Florence during this time period.
This splendid manuscript, without a doubt a Florentine miniature masterpiece of the Renaissance, was commissioned by Federico at the working studio of Vespasiano da Bisticci, the renowned Florentine bookseller who was the primary provider of manuscripts for the Urbino library.
The original Urbino Bible is divided into two books. The volumes are particularly important for the richness of their illustrations. Hugo de Cominellis or Hugues de Comminellis de Mazieres, who was also responsible for other books commissioned by Federico, has been identified as the scribe of these volumes. The copy is a transcription of the canonic text of the Vulgate.
Scholars have identified the hands of a number of different artists who cooperated in decorating these volumes, among them, panel painters, fresco painters and miniature painters. The artists involved in these splendid decorations include Attavante, the Master of the Hamilton Xenophon, Francesco Rosselli, the brother of the most famous Cosimo, Francesco d’Antonio del Chierico, to whom we owe the greatest number of the illustrations, Biagio d’Antonio, Bartolomeo di Giovanni and David and Domenico Ghirlandaio.
Federico, nicknamed “the Light of Italy”, is a landmark figure in the history of the Italian Renaissance. He imposed justice and stability on his tiny state. He engaged the best copyists and editors in his private scriptorium to produce the most comprehensive library outside of the Vatican. He was a staunch supporter in the development of fine artists, including the early training of the young painter Raphael.
Despite his privileged rank, Federico always remained interested in the average citizen. He took care of soldiers who might be killed or wounded, providing, for example, dowries for their daughters. He often strolled the streets of Urbino unarmed and unattended, inquiring in shops and businesses as to the well-being of the citizens. He held to the belief that all citizens, regardless of rank, were equal under the law.
Celebrate Your Faith is proud to offer a very limited number of this rare Bible for sale. Additionally, the painstaking reproduction of this masterpiece is adorned and jeweled on the exterior cover to create an exclusive version not found anywhere else. The brilliant gemstones and meticulous detailing add a truly remarkable quality to this extraordinary find. Reserve your copy today!
To learn more about Federico da Montefeltro, visit Federico da Montefeltro on Wikipedia
To read about and see excerpts from treasures of the Vatican Library, including the Urbino Bible, visit The European Library
See some of the amazing work in this Bible below. Click on any of the images to see a larger one.
Click here to go to our website…
February Birthstone – Amethyst
Amethyst is the official birthstone for the month of February, according to the National Jewelers Association (USA).
Amethyst is associated with spirituality, piety, wisdom, sobriety, and security. It has been used to ornament churches and crosses, and worn in rings and on rosaries by bishops and priests.
Amethyst is often given as a symbol of protection and the power to overcome difficulty. It is also given as a representation of a strong bond in a love relationship.
Amethyst, as a precious stone, carries the following meanings:
- Inner Strength
Having a distinct gemstone assigned to each month of the year can be traced back to the Breastplate worn by Aaron, which is described in the book of Exodus.
“And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.” Exodus 28:17-21 KJV
The first century Jewish historian Josephus proclaimed a connection between the twelve stones in Aaron’s breastplate and the twelve months of the year.
The idea of wearing a gemstone corresponding to the month of a person’s birth is a modern one that scholars trace to 18th century Poland, with the arrival of Jewish gem traders in the region. The modern list of birthstones has been unchanged since its initial definition in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers in the USA.
Amethyst is the purple variety of the mineral quartz, which occurs naturally as crystals within rocks. Deposits of this popular gemstone are found in Brazil, Canada, Australia, India, Madagascar, Namibia, Russia, Sri Lanka and the United States. An amethyst is always purple, but it occurs in a wide range of purple shades.
The Gregorian calendar has poems (of unknown author) matching each month with its birthstone:
The February born shall find
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they, the amethyst will wear.
To learn more about gemstones, visit the website for the Gemological Institute of America, http://www.gia.edu/
Celebrate Your Faith has many popular items in Amethyst. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there are many great gift ideas in Amethyst available.
Search Amethyst Gifts
Simeon: A Lesson in Waiting for the Promise of God
Just the other night, I was watching a Christmas movie on GMC. ‘Tis the season for Christmas movies on a number of channels! The movie was not very interesting, to be honest, but I kept flipping back to it because there was nothing else on TV worth watching. There came a part in the movie where an older gentleman read the Christmas story while a young girl acted out various parts. Once the play was completed, he said one of his favorite parts of the Christmas story was actually a part that was seldom read – the part about Simeon. He then proceeded to the following passage in Luke:
“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
‘Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.’
And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’” Luke 2:25-35 NKJV
Hearing this made me pause to think: What would it have been like to be Simeon? That’s when I knew I kept switching back this movie for a reason. This was the part that God intended me to hear. He wanted to get a message to me, and to you.
Now, the Bible doesn’t tell us WHEN it was revealed to Simeon that he would see Jesus before he died. What if the Holy Spirit spoke that to him when he was 30 years old? He could have taken that one of two ways: either Christ is coming soon and I’m going to die young, or I’m going to have to wait a LONG time for this promise to be fulfilled.
At first glance, neither prospect seems “fun”, I have to admit. Simeon heard the voice of the Holy Spirit give him this wonderful promise… but how would he know when “the time” had come? I believe that as the years went by, he continued to practice hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit. Each time the Spirit spoke, Simeon obeyed. Simeon probably figured that when the time came for this promise to be fulfilled, he didn’t want to second guess that is was God who had spoken to him.
When the Spirit led him to the temple at the appointed time, it turned out that he was being led there not only so he could see the Lord’s Christ with his own eyes,
but so he could release words of blessing over Jesus and also Mary and Joseph. In fulfilling His promise to Simeon, God used him to bless Jesus’ earthly parents and communicate a specific message to them.
God is a connecter and a multiplier. Allow the story of Simeon to sink deep in to your heart, pondering how it applies to you and how it applies to the promises God has spoken to you.
But, Simeon was “just and devout”, you might say. So are you, if you’ve been washed by the Blood of Jesus, accepting Him as your Lord and Savior.
“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” 1 Corinthians 1:30 NKJV
Now that we’ve got that point settled, consider what it is that the Holy Spirit has been speaking to you. What has God promised to YOU? Are you waiting expectantly for it? Are you endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit in your daily walk, fine tuning your listening skills?
Are you willing to do what it is He says to see the promise come to pass? Like Simeon, will you follow the Holy Spirit as He leads you to the temple, or wherever that place is for you? At the exact day and in the exact hour? Will you be ready, in the midst of the fulfillment of His promise to you, to reach out and be His hands and His mouthpiece to bless others?
The promise that God made to Simeon may seem extra special, because it involved the birth of His Son, Jesus. But as sons and daughters of God, He treats each and every promise He makes to us the same way. It is important to Him that they come to pass in the right way, at the right time, and that we are prepared to receive them.
Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit is vital. Reading the Word of God is vital. Prayer and worship is vital. It strengthens our relationship with God, which allows us to trust Him more fully and deeply. It gives us a certainty that can be obtained no other way.
Jesus came, as is said in Luke, to be “a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Allow that light and that glory to penetrate your heart afresh and anew this Christmas.
The story of Simeon is my story. It’s your story. It’s the story of a person who dared to trust God.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Celebrate Your Faith!
For unto us…
The San Damiano Cross
The San Damiano Cross is the large Romanesque rood cross that St. Francis of Assisi was praying before when he received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church. The original crucifix was painted by an unknown Umbrian artist in the twelfth century.
The San Damiano Cross is rich with symbolism based on the elaborate imagery contained in this icon. The cross is called an icon cross because it contains images of people who have a part in the meaning of the cross.
Below are some selected highlights along with reflection Scriptures to consider.
The central element of the San Damiano Crucifix is the figure of Christ. It is not the body of a corpse, but of God Himself, incorruptible unto eternity and the source of life, radiating the hope of the Resurrection. Christ is a figure of light dominating the scene and giving light to the other figures. Christ stands upright, not nailed. The eyes of Jesus are open: He looks out to the world, which He has saved. He is alive, the one who is eternal.
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” John 8:12 NKJV
The Hand of the Father:
From within the semi-circle at the very top of the Icon, He whom no eye has seen reveals Himself in a benediction. This blessing is given by the right hand of God with the finger extended – the Holy Spirit. The Father gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to all because of the merits of the Christ’s Passion.
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” Acts 1:4-5 NKJV
The Astonished Angels:
Around the crossbar of the cross, there are two groups of angels – animatedly discussing the scene unfolded before them.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV
The Centurion of Capernaum:
To the right of the Cross stands the Centurion. He holds a piece of wood in his left hand, indicating his building of the Synagogue (Luke 7:1-10). The little boy beyond his shoulder is his son healed by Jesus. The three heads behind the boy show “he and his whole household believed” (John 4:45-54). He has extended his thumb and two fingers, a symbol of the Trinity, while his two closed fingers symbolize the hidden mystery of the two natures of Jesus the Christ. “Truly He is the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).
“Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your son lives.’ So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, ‘Your son lives!’ Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, ‘Your son lives.’ And he himself believed, and his whole household.” John 4:50-53 NKJV
Also to the right of the Cross stands Mary Magdalene, she who loved the Lord so sincerely that she would not even abandon Him at His grave. Listening intently to Mary Magdalene is Mary Clopas, another woman who came to the tomb with Mary Magdalene, to anoint the dead body of the Lord. These two women typify an intense and courageous devotion that persists no matter how difficult life may become.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NKJV
In the red border around the cross are scrolls that recall tendrils of vines. They bring to mind Christ’s admonition that He is the vine while we are but branches. To bear fruit, we must remain in Him.
“‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.’” John 15:5 NKJV
Near the border of the Cross on the right, just below the level of Christ’s knees, you will find a small rooster. Firstly, this recalls the denial of Peter, who wept bitterly, and reminds us that we should not be presumptuous of the strength of our faith. Secondly, the rooster proclaims the new dawn of the Risen Christ, the true light (1 John 2:8).
“Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” 1 John 2:8 NKJV
“But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings” Malachi 4:2 NKJV
For further explanations into the meanings of these and many other symbols and icons on the San Damiano Cross, please visit any of the following websites:
The San Damiano Cross – Wikipedia
Symbolism of San Damiano Crucifix
Franciscan Friars Third Order Regular – San Damiano Cross
Celebrate Your Faith sells Italian crafted replicas of the original cross in sizes ranging from 3-29 inches. These are reproductions of the original that hangs in Santa Chiara (St. Clare) Church in Assisi, Italy. Along with this, we have many other Wall Crosses.
Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) 2011
Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) 2011
Sundown Wednesday, October 12 thru Thursday, October 20.
The festival of Sukkot is instituted in Leviticus 23:33-44. The Festival of Sukkot begins on the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as the Season of our Rejoicing.
Sukkot is the last of the three pilgrimage festivals. Like Passover and Shavu’ot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Ingathering.
The word “Sukkot” means “booths,” and refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering. Sukkot lasts for seven days. (Reference: Judiasm 101: Sukkot)
From an agricultural perspective in ancient Israel, Pesach [Passover] corresponded to the planting season, Shavuot [Pentecost] corresponded to the grain harvest, and Sukkot corresponded to the fruit harvest. When you planted your crops in spring, you do not yet rejoice because you were uncertain about how the harvest will turn out. And when you harvested your grain at the start of summer, you might have rejoiced that you now had bread in hand, but you would still be uncertain about the success of your fruit crops. Total joy would come after you had harvested all of your crops in the fall, and thereby received sustenance and provision for the coming year from the LORD.
From a spiritual perspective, Sukkot corresponds to the joy of knowing your sins were forgiven (during Yom Kippur), and also recalls God’s miraculous provision and care after the deliverance from bondage in Egypt (Lev. 23:43). Prophetically, Sukkot anticipates the coming kingdom of the Mashiach Yeshua wherein all the nations shall come up to Jerusalem to worship the LORD during the festival (see Zech. 14:16). Today Sukkot is a time to remember God’s Sheltering Presence and Provision for us for the start of the New Year. (Reference: Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles)
Click on the link for additional information on the Jewish Feasts.
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39 NJKV
In a message recently broadcast by Joseph Prince Ministries, Pastor Prince talked about the significance of Jesus’ words while he was in Jerusalem on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus was speaking of rivers of living water, which are moving and refreshing. The living water here refers to the Holy Spirit.
A very important distinction highlighted from Scripture was this:
Forgiveness was given to you because Christ was crucified. The Holy Spirit was given to you because Christ was glorified.
During the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests on the last day, the “great day”, take a container and go down from Mount Moriah to the pool of Siloam to collect water, which they bring back and pour out as they say Psalms 118.
“Save now, I pray, O LORD;
O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.”
Psalm 118:25 NKJV
They are saying to God – send now prosperity, send now salvation – they are asking God to send rain the coming year. Salvation is Yeshua in the Hebrew… and who appeared? Jesus! He is the answer to the cry of “send now prosperity, send now salvation”.
To order this message in its entirety, visit the Joseph Prince online store for Sermon CD #36.
Click on the link for additional teaching on the significance of Jesus in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Feasts are important to the Jewish people, but they also teach many things and reveal Jesus to us as believers.
Whether Jew or Christian, please join us in celebrating this important time in our shared heritage. Let it be your personal Season of Rejoicing!
Remembering 9/11 – Celebrating the National Day of Encouragement
Celebrating the National Day of Encouragement (9/12)
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 33:12 NIV
The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks conjures up many memories and emotions in the hearts of every American and those around the world. It was a day where we saw unprecedented attacks on our homeland.
Click on this link to access the official National September 11 Memorial & Museum site.
In the wake of 9/11/2001, many in our nation turned to God for comfort and solace. It was an “awakening” of sorts for many people. And so it is appropriate that after we pause to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in those attacks, that we turn to our family, friends and neighbors and offer encouragement for the future.
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 NLT
As we reflect on the events of 9/11/2001 and everything that has happened as a result of those attacks, we need not tremble in fear or be anxious about the future when our trust is in the Lord God.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NKJV
“The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.” 2 Samuel 22:3 KJV
Let this Day of Remembrance followed by the National Day of Encouragement be a renewed call to prayer for our nation, our state, our city and our neighbors. Let it also be a call to prayer for our troops serving both at home and around the world.
God’s Word offers us an encouragement for prayer in Colossians 4:2 where it exhorts us to “devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” (NLT)
Let us reflect with a heart of honor, and let us look forward with a heart of hope.
May God bless each one of you, and may God Bless America!
Man of God ~ Honored Father
Father’s Day is a time set aside to show special honor to our fathers, or men who are father-figures in our lives. A father is someone who is there to offer love and support to his children – be they biological children, step-children, or “spiritual” children that God has placed in his life for him to nurture.
Being a good father begins with having a solid relationship with Jesus Christ. He must be the center of every communication, affection and discipline that a man gives to his children. A good father must first and foremost be a Man of God.
“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12 NKJV
A good father demonstrates to his children what it means to have faith in God and trust Him for everything we need. He is a reflection of God to his children. It’s an awesome responsibility, but one that can be carried out with dignity and love and respect when he looks to God for direction and guidance.
All this is not to say that fathers need to be perfect. But a father who is humble and teachable is the best father a child could ask for.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV
If your father needs some encouragement to strengthen his relationship with God, this is a wonderful time to give him some tools to help him do so. Give him the web address for Bible Gateway’s 100 most-read Bible verses.
Give your father a fresh look at the Word of God with this NLT In His Image Devotional Bible.
This Father’s Day, above all, be sure to tell your father how much you love him and appreciate him. Remember those godly men who have influenced you and thank them for everything they have done for you.
Celebrate Your Faith has many wonderful gifts for fathers. Pick out a special treasure to honor him today!
Honor our Heroes on Memorial Day
A Day to Remember the Men and Women who have Served our Country
A hero, as defined by Noah Webster’s Dictionary of 1828, is “a man of distinguished valor, intrepidity or enterprise in danger; as a hero in arms”. The modern-day Merriam-Webster Dictionary places the first meaning of a hero as a mythological or legendary figure. I’d like us to hearken back to Noah Webster’s definition on this Memorial Day as it reminds us that REAL heroes live among us, and have died for our freedom.
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday which honors and commemorates the men and women who died while in military service. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
Salute or commemorate a loved one serving in the U.S. military by proudly wearing a military cross or medal. These pendants also make treasured gifts for someone serving in the military to assure them that you are praying for them and that their protection is found in God.
The blog Fresh Manna by Pastor Tim Burt featured a video on “The Story of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight” earlier this week. Click here to access the archived blog from that day’s post.
The mini-book entitled “Pray for Our Nation”, published by Harrison House, includes this prayer for Veterans:
Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for our veterans. I thank You for their willingness to risk all so that our nation might dwell in peace and safety.
May they find the honor and recognition they deserve.
In the name of Your divine Son, I pray that You will heal the physical and psychological wounds some of these veterans have suffered. Bring peace to those who mourn the loss of comrades.
Father, I pray that our nation would learn to respect and acknowledge those who have served their country well.
Scripture Reference: Romans 13:7, John 14:17, John 16:33
Visit the US Memorial Day website for more information on the history of Memorial Day.
Make this Memorial Day about more than barbeques with family and friends, about more than the start of the summer travel season, about more than a 3-day weekend. Take time to truly remember and thank God for the ultimate sacrifice many men and women have paid. Pray for their families and loved ones. And take time to remember and thank the men and women who currently serve in all the branches of our military.
Celebrate Your Faith has many thoughtful and meaningful gifts to honor our service men and women. Check out our Memorial Day Gifts section to find the perfect one today!
National Day of Prayer 2011
60TH ANNUAL OBSERVANCE
A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD
“I WILL SAY OF THE LORD, HE IS MY REFUGE AND MY FORTRESS, MY GOD, IN WHOM I TRUST.” PSALM 91:2
The National Day of Prayer was formally established in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May.
The official website of the National Day of Prayer states: “The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation. It enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call to us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.”
National Day of Prayer Official Site: http://nationaldayofprayer.org/
The 2011 National Day of Prayer Proclamation, issued by the President of the United States, reads:
Throughout our history, Americans have turned to prayer for strength, inspiration, and solidarity.
Prayer has played an important role in the American story and in shaping our Nation’s leaders. President Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.” The late Coretta Scott King recounted a particularly difficult night, during the Montgomery bus boycott, when her husband, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., received a threatening phone call and prayed at the kitchen table, saying, “Lord, I have nothing left. I have nothing left. I have come to the point where I can’t face it alone.” Dr. King said, in that moment of prayer, he was filled with a sense of comfort and resolve, which his wife credited as a turning point in the civil rights movement.
It is thus fitting that, from the earliest years of our country’s history, Congress and Presidents have set aside days to recognize the role prayer has played in so many definitive moments in our history. On this National Day of Prayer, let us follow the example of President Lincoln and Dr. King. Let us be thankful for the liberty that allows people of all faiths to worship or not worship according to the dictates of their conscience, and let us be thankful for the many other freedoms and blessings that we often take for granted.
Let us pray for the men and women of our Armed Forces and the many selfless sacrifices they and their families make on behalf of our Nation. Let us pray for the police officers, firefighters, and other first responders who put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect their fellow citizens. And let us ask God for the sustenance and guidance for all of us to meet the great challenges we face as a Nation.
Let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those who have been affected by natural disasters at home and abroad in recent months, as well as those working tirelessly to render assistance. And, at a time when many around the world face uncertainty and unrest, but also hold resurgent hope for freedom and justice, let our prayers be with men and women everywhere who seek peace, human dignity, and the same rights we treasure here in America.
The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a “National Day of Prayer.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 5, 2011, as a National Day of Prayer. I invite all citizens of our Nation, as their own faith or conscience directs them, to join me in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy, and I ask all people of faith to join me in asking God for guidance, mercy, and protection for our Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
You can also view this Proclamation online by visiting http://nationaldayofprayer.org/news/2010-presidential-proclamation/2011-proclamation/
This year’s theme, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, is also the name of one of Martin Luther’s best known hymns (full lyrics here). It has been called the “Battle Hymn of the Reformation” and perhaps that is why it is so fitting as a theme.
We are undergoing a reformation of sorts in the country right now. People across the country are fed up with the status quo of things and are seeking meaning for their lives. Many of these people are turning to God and seeking a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They are not satisfied with “arm chair Christianity” any longer. Simply attending church once a week is not fulfilling.
One of the cornerstones of a personal relationship with is prayer. Jesus made a way for us to be intimate with the Father when He sprinkled His blood in the Heavenly Holy of Holies. He once and for all opened up unhindered access to God to each one of us through His blood. What a marvelous privilege we have been given!
Prayer is communication with God. It is fellowship with Him. It is a time to bring our concerns and petitions before Him, to thank Him for all He has done for us, and also to listen. Prayer is a two-way communication, a conversation… a dialogue rather than a monologue.
If we would learn to listen more than we speak, it could go a long way toward experiencing answered prayer. When we take the time to first receive the Father’s heart about something, our asking comes in to line with His will and desire for the situation, and it will surely come to pass.
Once we have listened and then asked in accordance with His will, our next step is to listen again, to see if God wants to use us in any way to bring about the answer to these prayers that we have prayed. Sometimes the burden to pray is just that, a burden to bring something before the Lord in prayer. But sometimes that burden in prayer then translates into Spirit-led action. We are His hands and feet in the earth, and most of what God accomplishes in this Church-age is going to be through His people.
On this ever-important National Day of Prayer, I encourage you bring your prayers and petitions for this country before the Lord, and then listen for what He would have you do to be a part in bringing those very prayers to pass.
Maybe it will be through a commitment to pray more, to regularly lift up this nation, its leaders and its people before Him. Maybe it will be to get involved in your church in a new capacity in order to minister to others. Maybe it will be to volunteer at the local homeless shelter. Maybe it will be to lobby your Congressperson. Maybe it will be to spend more time with your kids to ensure they grow up knowing they are loved and supported.
Let’s use this special day to lift all US citizens – children, adolescents, parents, the elderly, business people, civic leaders and decision-makers, pastors and clergy – before the Lord. And let’s take time to thank the Lord for all He has done for us as a nation and in our private lives. Thank Him for the protection and favor He has afforded us.
Join a National Day of Prayer event in your community or hold a prayer gathering in your home or workplace. Find a way to participate in this most important day.
Events being held throughout Minnesota, and in the Twin Cities Metro Area, can be found by visiting these links:
National Day of Prayer Event Locator: http://nationaldayofprayer.org/about/find-an-event/
National Day of Prayer Minnesota: http://www.ndpminnesota.org/
Unite Twin Cities – Event at Mariucci Arena: http://www.unitetwincities.com/