National Day of Prayer laments Obergefell aftermath
Religion | Speakers at the 65th annual event call for God’s intervention in matters of marriage, gender, and Supreme Court decisions
by Evan Wilt
Posted 5/05/16, 06:15 pm
WASHINGTON—Each year since 1952, Christians have convened in the U.S. capital to pray for the nation’s future. But this year, the first National Day of Prayer since Supreme Court legalized gay marriage had renewed urgency.
“We need visible and verbal followers of Jesus Christ. Everybody else is coming out of the closet; we might as well come out too,” said Tony Evans, a Dallas pastor and the 2016 National Day of Prayer keynote speaker. “We don’t need any more secret-agent Christianity.”
Familiar faces in evangelical circles brought a more serious message to the 65th annual event. There were prayers for God’s blessing, prayers of repentance, prayers for each branch of the government, and for the military. But a similar thread connected messages from Christian leaders: last summer’s Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges to redefine marriage and the battleground for Bible believers against a radical LGBT agenda.
The newest front in that battle is the debate over gender identity and public restroom use. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice served North Carolina with a notice that it considers discriminatory a state law protecting public establishments from being forced to allow people to have access to restrooms and locker rooms of the genders with which they identify.
James Dobson, Christian radio host and Focus on the Family founder, only spoke for a few minutes at his 25th National Day of Prayer, urging Christians to pray for America’s children.
“They are being taught things that we consider alien to our faith, and they are being influenced by a culture that is perverting them,” he said in a somber voice. “The transgender movement is taking over our schools and having an impact. In some places, we have 5-year-olds being asked to choose if they are male or female.”
After opening remarks from Dobson’s wife Shirley, the chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force since 1991, Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jewish pastor and author, walked on stage to deliver the most rousing words of the day. Cahn asked the room of thousands to stand while he blew a shofar, a musical ram’s horn used in Jewish ceremonies.
“Ten months ago, our nation’s highest court struck down the very order of God,” Cahn said in a booming voice. “So it must be asked this day: Supreme Court justices, from where do you get the authority to overrule the rulings of the Most High? And by what authority do you strike down the laws of the eternal?”
Cahn had some choice words for President Barack Obama, as well.
“Mr. President, when you assumed the office of your presidency, did you not lay your hand on the Word of God and swear before Him, ‘So help me, God?’” Cahn said. “And yet, on the day that the Supreme Court struck down the order of God, you issued the order that the White House be illumined by the colors of the rainbow to celebrate that striking down.”
In addition to the National Day of Prayer Task Force’s gathering in Washington, groups across the country hosted local events to pray for the nation’s leaders. Organizers said there were more than 47,000 different groups that prayed today, making 2016 the largest National Day of Prayer on record.
In Washington, the National Day of Prayer Task Force invited more than just faith leaders to speak and to pray. Present were several members of Congress, representatives from different branches of the military, and Glenn Murdock, an associate justice on Alabama’s Supreme Court.
Murdock said Christians need to pray for the Supreme Court more than ever before because the judicial branch now has more power than any other government body. Murdock pointed to major cases the Supreme Court will weigh in on in the future that will decide the fate of the Second Amendment, the extent of the president’s power, and individual religious liberty.
“There is such a thing as objective truth,” Murdock said. “I submit to you today that you would pray for who our judges will be and what they will decide.”
Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.