By the Book: An address for the national day of prayer
by Anthony Cook
May 05, 2012 | 1718 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I had the honor and privilege of delivering the keynote address Thursday at the city of Jacksonville’s recognition of the National Day of Prayer. The following is an excerpt from that address:

I have a 16-year-old son. He is every bit the average teenager that you could possibly imagine. He’s lazy and he loves video games and all he wants to do is eat and sleep.

Well, that laziness got him in trouble with me recently. I went into his room and it was like I’d walked into a war zone. I could barely see the floor. There were clothes everywhere and dirty dishes and an unmade bed. It was a total mess.

So I took his video game from him. And you would have thought he was going to die. He practically went through withdrawal. After a couple of days of keeping his room clean, he came to me and said, “Dad, what do I have to do to get my game back?”

I wanted him to understand that I wasn’t as concerned about the game as I was our relationship.

I said, “Son, I just want you to talk to me. I don’t want you to spend all your time playing video games. I want you to tell me about school and sports and girls and everything that goes on in your life.”

I put it to him this way: “You having your stuff isn’t nearly as important to me as me having my son.”

Simply put, I wanted him to begin seizing opportunities to talk to his father.

In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus begins closing his sermon on the mount by encouraging his followers to ask and you shall receive; seek and you’ll find; knock and it shall be opened.

God wants his children to talk to him, and prayer is how we communicate with the Creator. It is a reminder and confirmation for us that God is real — a reminder that’s needed because, corporately, in this country, it seems like we’ve forgotten God.

We are the richest, smartest, most industrious, and most resilient nation in the world. And yet, we are the most corrupt and most violent and most morally bankrupt nation in the world.

We’ve forgotten that the freedom and wealth and security we enjoy in this nation were not secured nor preserved solely by fallible and finite men but by a good and gracious God Almighty.

It wasn’t always this way.

The founders of this country, for the most part, believed in the God of the Bible.

They acknowledged the existence of God.

They believed in the sovereignty of God.

They trusted in the wisdom of God.

They appealed to the power of God.

They knew that this young nation, this experiment in democracy, would fail if it were simply left up to the feeble minds of imperfect men.

And so they cried out to God. They prayed and held Bible study on the floor of Congress. They sought His guidance in crafting the Constitution.

And in doing so, they planted the seeds for what has become what we now call the National Day of Prayer.

So today let us seek God with our whole heart.

Let us pray for unity and peace and love all across this great nation.

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate.

Let us pray for the wisdom and statesmanship of all our leaders at every level.

Let us pray for the safe return home of our military men and women.

Let us pray for the salvation of lost souls.

Let us pray for forgiveness.

On this National Day of Prayer in the year of our Lord 2012, let us seize the opportunity to return to our nation’s roots.

Let us seize the opportunity to cry out to the Creator of the universe, the Lord and Savior of all who put their faith in Jesus Christ.

Let us seize on this day the opportunity to talk to our Father.

Managing Editor Anthony Cook is pastor at Christian Fellowship Bible Church. Phone, 256-235-3558. Email, Twitter, acook_star.

'By the Book'

Anthony Cook, managing editor of the Anniston Star, has published a collection of his columns on faith, along with sermon notes and speeches.

‘By the Book’ (WestBow Press, 418 pages, $30.95) is available at LifeWay Christian store at Oxford Exchange, at Family Christian Stores at Quintard Mall, or online at or at

By the Book: An address for the national day of prayer by Anthony Cook