WASHINGTON (BP) - Aligning American culture with God's commandment to love one another is the vision of the 2019 National Day of Prayer May 2, an annual event organizers say impacted perhaps 510 million people in 2018.
Neither society nor the church are loving one another as God commanded, NDP Task Force President Ronnie Floyd told Baptist Press.
"It's pretty obvious that the culture is a great picture of what we're not doing," Floyd said. "And not only the culture in America but the culture in the church today. The way we conduct ourselves to one another is not a 'love one another' culture.
"We need to enter back into what Jesus called us to do," said Floyd, who is also president-elect of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. "Just think what would happen in the Southern Baptist Convention; think what would happen if 'love one another' took over.
"It's important that we call the standard up for all of us," Floyd said, "with no exceptions."
Prayers at an anticipated 50,000 or more local events and the NDP national observance in Washington will call the nation to "Love One Another" as Jesus commanded in John 13:34. NDP events preceding the national observance will encourage the nation to pray, including a prayer breakfast and a formal dinner in Washington.
It's not too late to plan a local event, Floyd said, with free tools available at nationaldayofprayer.org. An official NDP prayer signed by Floyd is available at nationaldayofprayer.org/national-prayer.
Floyd will expound on the NDP theme at the national observance 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time May 2 in Statuary Hall. A diversity of speakers will address specific aspects of love, followed by several minutes of targeted prayer in the event livestreamed on the NDP Facebook page and broadcast on television and radio.
Persecuted pastor Andrew Brunson, who spent nearly two years jailed in Turkey for his faith, will with his wife Norine encourage the nation to love one another through prayer for persecuted Christians globally.
Anthony B. Thompson, whose late wife Myra was among nine blacks shot to death June 17, 2015, at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., will focus on loving one another through forgiveness.
Other speakers are Julio Arriola, former worship leader at Cross Church in northwest Arkansas and now a missionary to Mexico; Jay and Diane Strack, founder of Student Leadership University and co-founder of National Women's Prayer Movement, respectively; Sammy Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and Nick Hall, founder of student-led prayer and evangelism movement PULSE, who will speak via livestream from an NDP event in Minneapolis, Minn.
In events the preceding day, former International Mission Board President David Platt, pastor of McLean Bible Church in McLean, Va., will preach at a breakfast at 9 a.m. at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington; and Brunson will speak at a formal dinner at 6 p.m. Eastern Time at the Museum of the Bible.
NDP 2018 enjoyed the greatest impact in the event's history, according to the NDP 2018 impact report.
The impact report counted more than 50,000 local events across the nation, with more than 1 million viewing the Facebook broadcast of the NDP service, more than 120 radio stations broadcasting NDP events, an estimated 1.6 million people in 38 countries watching the NDP livestream, an estimated 110 million reached through Christian news sites, and potentially 1 billion reached through NDP television broadcasts in 200 countries, NDP said on its website.
Local prayer gatherings are autonomous and are held in churches, schools, businesses, government offices and outdoor venues. Founded by Congress in 1952, NDP has been observed annually on the first Thursday in May since 1988.
As president-elect of the SBC Executive Committee, Floyd is resigning this year the NDP presidency he has held since 2017. The NDP Board of Directors will choose his successor.
Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor.