HOUSTON (Christian Examiner) – Gregg Matte, pastor of Houston's First Baptist Church -- like many ministers around the nation -- called on members of his congregation for a few minutes of focused prayer May 7.
"On this National Day of Prayer, I invite you to watch this video and pray with me for our nation no matter where you are right now," Matte said. "Whether at your desk, at home, at school -- or even waiting in line at the drive thru -- God hears our cries wherever we may be."
Leader of the historic church that began in the downtown area of Houston in 1841 and has grown to a multi-site campus of over 6,000 -- Matte led in nearly four minutes of prayer based on 1 Kings 8:28.
Matte told his congregation via the video delivered by email and distributed through social media sites such as Twitter and on Facebook: "If it's one thing our nation needs, it's prayer."
"What we want to do on the National Day of Prayer is to not just talk about prayer but to actually pray," he said, asking those watching to pray in two ways, "personally" and "nationally."
Ask God to "do something in us and to make our hearts right with Him," Matte offered.
After leading in personal prayer, and then being silent for several moments, he led in prayer for the nation.
"Pray nationally ... for leaders," Matte said.
"We pray that we turn our country to you Lord," Matte said. "Not just to make it easier on believers in Christ ... so that this nation would honor You; and so that Your blessing will be upon us as a nation."
JACK GRAHAM LEADS NDOP TASK FORCE
Another Texas Baptist, Jack Graham, pastor of the 40,000-member Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, served as honorary chairperson of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
Graham delivered an address at the National Day of Prayer service in Washington, reading aloud a letter from pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in Iran for not denouncing Christianity for Islam.
"This is a crying time in America. It's a time for tears," Graham said, calling for prayer at a time America is "facing a crisis."
The national prayer observance coincided with Abedini's 35th birthday, Graham noted.
"We should always remember to pray for suffering Christians, the persecuted church [and] martyred believers around the world," Graham said. "We must never forget them."