April 15, 2011 Print

Friday Five: Joni Eareckson Tada, National Day of Prayer Honorary Chairman


On May 5, millions of Americans will gather for the 60th annual National Day of Prayer.

Esteemed author and international advocate for people with disabilities, Joni Eareckson Tada is the honorary chairman of the NDP Task Force and will give the keynote address at the national observance in Washington, D.C.

She is the founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center and has authored more than 50 books. Her best-selling autobiography, Joni, has been translated into more than 45 languages.

Tada spoke with CitizenLink this week about her NDP role. (Some of her answers come from the NDP website.)

1. On Thursday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit that sought to strike down NDP as unconstitutional. How did you prepare for the decision?

All of us at the National Day of Prayer coveted everyone’s intercessions as we awaited the final verdict. Prayer has been a part of America’s historic tradition ever since our Founding Fathers offered up the first intercession at the First Continental Congress. So we wanted the courts of this land to uphold the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer.

2. Are you enjoying your role as honorary chairman of NDP?

I was thrilled to take this opportunity to serve, because I love praying and I love invigorating other people to pray. I love sparking the passion within them to lift their praise and intercession to the Lord. It’s something I just enjoy doing, so I’m getting a big kick out of serving as honorary chair.

3. How can prayer influence public policy?

Our prayers guide the direction of American society. Our prayers help plant seeds of righteousness across America; our prayers uproot unrighteousness in our towns and cities. Yes, we should hold our representatives accountable and share our views over the backyard fence, at the cleaners, in the market and in our neighborhood meeting places, but it is prayer that softens the hearts of our fellow citizens and leaders in government.

4. If we truly seek God, what do you think will happen?

I think revival is going to sweep our land, if we Christians not only start praying as we should but start living as we should. I love where the Old Testament tells us that if we would confess our sins, we turn and repent from them, God will heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Revival is poised, ready to sweep our nation. But it first has to happen in our hearts. And it’s not easy to confess sins. It’s not easy to admit that you are stubborn, self-centered, full of pride, cherishing inflated ideas of your own importance, or tending to manipulate others with your precisely timed phrases. I could go on and on, but as we readily confess and be transparent and vulnerable with one another, and confess our sins to one another, not only will we be healed as the Bible says, but our nation will be healed.

5. How would you encourage people to pray on May 5?

I invite you to join me and millions of others in lifting our land and its people up before the throne of God. Ask Him to spark revival in our own hearts so it might spread across our continent.  Praise Him for the foundations on which our country was built, and ask Him to remember the faithful prayers of our Founding Fathers.

Drop to your knees on behalf of our schools, courts, communities and churches. Cry out to God on behalf of our brave servicemen and women overseas, and ask the Lord to safeguard the cause of Christ against our enemies. Implore Him to pour out His mercy upon us and establish America, once again, as that shining city on a hill that honors the Almighty, embraces righteous living, and promotes peace and justice.

Learn more about local and national prayer events.

Many of Joni Eareckson Tada’s books are available through Focus on the Family.

Read about the lawsuit that challenged NDP.

If you received this story from a friend, you can sign up for your own copy of the CitizenLink e-newsletter.