It was an unusual National Day of Prayer and a somber message from the first lady.
Still, in a video released Thursday by the White House, Melania Trump — seated on a couch, an echo clearly audible — delivered a message of hope.
“On this year’s National Day of Prayer, we are confronted with the challenges of an invisible enemy,” she began.
“One that can only be defeated through unity and our national strength, love and devotion to each other.
“All through history, Americans have unified through challenging moments and during our greatest times of need, we always turn to prayer.”
On this National Day of Prayer, the first lady said, our thoughts should be with those on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic and those who have lost a loved one due to the COVID-19 disease.
She also alluded to restrictions that have been imposed on religious gatherings because of the health crisis.
“In these uncertain times, I know it is hard not to gather in our places of worship,” she continued.
“But we must keep our faith in God and pray for the courage and knowledge that better days are ahead of us.”
In addition, she said, the country will get be back in places of work and worship, sending our children back to school and going back to sporting events.
“Our dear citizens, through prayer and faith, we will get through this together,” she said in closing.
“I am so proud of the way that all of you have responded to this crisis. When we reach out to our Lord, let us remember, ‘I can do everything through Him, who gives me strength.'”
“God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America,” she said.
Check out the video here:
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, “ask[ed] all Americans to join their voices and their hearts in spiritual union as we ask our Lord in heaven for strength and solace, for courage and comfort, for hope and healing, for recovery and for renewal.”
As for the first video, in case you didn’t catch the reference, it’s Philippians 4:13: “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” It’s an important message for us to remember right now, and not just because of the words.
Paul’s epistle to the Philippians is a book of joy, grounded in a spirit of gratitude toward devout believers in an early Christian community. He could summon this joy despite being in a Roman jail; prisons aren’t particularly known as great places to be right now and they certainly weren’t up to those standards in Roman times.
Times are difficult right now. You don’t need anyone to tell you this.
If you still have a job, you might have reduced hours or reduced pay. If you don’t, there’s the fear of where the next rent check’s going to come from. You may have lost loved ones or know those who have. You might be struggling with mental illness. You could just not be dealing with the stress very well.
You’ve no doubt seen the other greatest hit from the book of Philippians these past few weeks: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Paul wasn’t anxious, even though he had every reason to be. No one is expecting you to be Paul the Apostle right now. We can pray to the same God he did, though — and He can give you the peace only He can give.
If there’s anything to take away from this graceful and beautiful call to prayer by the first lady, it’s that.
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