100 DAYS OF PRAYER
thoughts from Jay Hornbacher
In a recorded speech on July 24, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt coined the term “the first 100 days” in reference to the first 100 days of his Presidency. Ever since, the term has been applied to any number of politicians, especially Presidents, as a measurement of their early accomplishments.
This sentence from his inaugural address on March 4, 1933 has about it a haunting theme: “I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require.”
His words proved prophetic, because 13 new laws were passed between that date and his hundredth day on June 11, 1933, many of which are still in place today.
The community of St. John’s is just over a week into our observance of “100 Days of Prayer”, scheduled to conclude in December, when the final results of the 2020 election will be known. We have been rightly encouraged to enter into prayer for our nation and world, and for our own action in the nation and world, during this time and beyond.
Anne Lamott has written a book entitled “Help, Thanks, Wow,” which she says are the three basic prayers we offer. Even though President Roosevelt certainly was not aware of that theme in 1933, it’s a reasonable guess that his primary prayer at that time may well have been “Help!” as the nation and world reeled from the effects of the Great Depression. “Thanks” and “Wow” probably had to wait until later, when the crisis of being “a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world” had eased a little.
Though the circumstances are different, we surely are a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world today, as we live through a pandemic, waves of civil unrest, and an election that has monumental consequences for our personal and collective future. While any and all times are appropriate for prayer, praying at this time seems especially urgent.
“Help” is a good prayer for this time.
“Thanks” is a good prayer at ANY time.
And by God’s grace and mercy, may we get to “Wow!”