The United States Congress officially enacted the National Day of Prayer in 1952 (although days of prayer have been established and observed by presidents, Congress, and Americans since 1775). It falls on the first Thursday in May, and every year, the president signs a proclamation encouraging Americans to turn to God in prayer. People of many religions and Christians from different denominations come together on this day and pray in houses of worship, in front of courthouses, in their homes, and other locations around the community.
For churches, it’s a wonderful opportunity to reach out to people and educate them about the power of prayer and the work the church does. Here are a few ideas to help you involve your community on the National Day of Prayer (and encourage them to join you for more than one day a year!).
Send a push notification reminding people to pray
Each year, the National Day of Prayer falls on a different day of the week. For some, this makes it easy to forget. That’s where push notifications come in. Push notifications have shown to increase app engagement by 88% because people rely on them for information. And sending high-value notifications can increase church app retention rates up to 10x.
By using an app, like MinistryOne, you can send push notifications for special announcements and reminders like the National Day of Prayer. Your church can also use an app for prayer requests, donations, event and class registrations, to listen to sermons, and much more. These features improve how you connect and communicate with your church, and they simply make it easier to keep track of important dates.
Host a prayer breakfast, lunch, or dinner
If National Day of Prayer doesn’t fall on a Sunday, consider hosting a meal where your church and community can come together to pray. A breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the church encourages visitors to attend and active churchgoers to engage with new faces. Or, host the meal at a location that’s important to your mission like a school you sponsor a backpack program for or a nursing home your youth ministry volunteers at.
Invite public officials and civic leaders to join your prayer events
Many churches involve police officers, firefighters, the mayor, military members, and other public servants that influence our society to their events. This year ask them to join your prayer event by reaching out through social media, on your website, email, or extending a face-to-face invitation. If they’re unable to attend, let them know what time you’ll be praying, so they can participate even if they aren’t physically there.