“Lift up the Word. Light up the world.” That is the theme for the 73rd National Day of Prayer, observed across America on Thursday, May 2, 2024. God has equipped His followers with two powerful weapons – prayer and the Bible. How can we wield the weapon of prayer to fight the good fight of faith?

Pioneer Christian Missionary to China, Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), advised a fellow missionary seeking to reach a new area with the Gospel, “Brother, if you would enter that province, you must go forward on your knees.” Prayer unlocks doors we cannot open when we begin to rely upon God’s strength instead of our own.

We can learn three powerful lessons about effective praying from David’s psalm found in 2 Samuel 22:29-31, the theme verses selected for the 2024 National Day of Prayer:

  1. God gives sight through prayer.

“For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness” (2 Sam. 22:29).

As David reflected on God’s guidance in his life, he referred to God as his lamp. The lamps of David’s time were palm-sized, bowl-shaped lamps that would hold olive oil and a small wick. Unlike car headlights or modern flashlights, these lamps would illuminate only one step at a time.

The life of faith is lived by taking one step at a time, following behind Christ our Captain. Some people refuse to move unless God reveals the whole roadmap for them. He never promised to do that in His Word. Just as He did with Abraham, Moses, David, Peter and Paul, the Lord guides His followers step-by-step along this journey. Would faith be needed if God revealed all the steps at once? No, it wouldn’t. God knows how to reveal the next step as we seek Him in prayer and follow Him by faith. Keep taking the next step in your journey with Jesus.

Ask God for wisdom so that you can take the correct next step. Do not be afraid to be specific in your prayers and do not be afraid to trust God as He shows you the next step to take. Walk confidently with Jesus on the trail He blazes for you (Heb. 12:2). He will never lead you down the wrong path. Prayer and the Word give us insight into His path for us.

  1. God gives strength through prayer.

“For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall” (2 Sam. 22:30).

Through faith in God’s strength, David knew that he could attack enemy troops and scale any defensive walls in God’s strength. This was a lesson about faith that David learned early in his life. When he faced Goliath as a young man, he depended totally on God’s strength instead of his own. As Goliath thundered threats to crush David, the shepherd boy boldly replied, “And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands” (1 Sam. 17:47). David stood in God’s strength that day and God gave great victory! Remember that phrase, “The battle is the Lord’s.” It will strengthen you as you pray to the same God who David served.

When attempting great things for God, there is a temptation to do God’s work in our strength. This temptation can spill into Christians’ prayers as well. If God were to bring a sweeping revival to the church in America and a Great Awakening in our nation, would we subtly take any glory away from God by bragging, “I’ve prayed two hours a day for fourteen years for God to move and He answered my prayers in a big way”? Don’t misunderstand; we ought to be excited when God answers prayer. Certainly, we need to seek His face on behalf of the nations. However, we have no right to take glory away from God.

When David defeated Goliath, he didn’t announce, “Look what my big faith in a big God accomplished!” Strikingly, the Scripture records no statement from David about his victory over Goliath. God alone got the glory for providing great deliverance for His people through a humble and willing servant named David. Could it be that God has not answered prayers for America and other nations because Christians are eager to take credit for a divine move of God?

  1. God gives safety through prayer.

“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him” (2 Sam. 22:31).

David reminds his readers that they can run to God who is like a buckler, a shield, against the enemy’s attacks. Paul echoes these words when He alerts Christians, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:16). The battle is the Lord’s and the enemy is not flesh and blood, but the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12).

Remember whom you fight against. Be alert for the arrows flying toward you. Take the shield of faith and remember that God is your shield against the wicked one. How can we do that? Through prayer. Ask God to help you remember who the real enemy is, and who it is not. Ask Him to help you stand strong against the arrows shot at you today. Ask Him to give you refuge under his mighty shield. After you pray these things for yourself, zoom out and pray the same for your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.

Grab your weapon, the Word of the Lord, and stand your ground as a good soldier of Jesus Christ! His Word is tried and true – just as a steel blade is hardened through the fire – and forged for His people in this hour. Lift up the Word! Light up the world!   



Josh Davis

Josh Davis

Staff Evangelist

SWRC/PITN Staff Evangelist Josh Davis accepted Jesus Christ as Savior at a young age and grew up in a preacher’s home. While preparing for a career in pharmacy, God redirected Josh’s heart, mind, and future to prepare for ministry. He earned a Master of Divinity from Southern Evangelical Seminary near Charlotte, NC. He has served his home church in pastoral ministry since 2007. God has blessed Josh with a lovely wife and two wonderful kids.