Prayer is not just a one-day thing - Jason Smith

The subject of prayer has been coming up a lot lately, and it's gotten me thinking.

Specifically, I've been thinking about how prayer, and Christianity in general, has been under attack recently.

It's no secret that Christians have been, over time, increasingly marginalized and viewed in a less than flattering light. Until recently, though, their ability to practice their religion has remained largely intact.

In Wisconsin, on April 15, a federal judge in U.S. District Court -- Barbara Crabb -- ruled that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional. She said the government shouldn't try to influence a person's decision to pray.

I would just like to state, for the record, that anytime I've prayed in my life, it wasn't because a politician told me to do it. That being said, let's move on.

On Facebook, I recently saw a message circulating among several circles of my friends, regarding the National Day of Prayer, which is scheduled for next month. The message stated that President Barack Obama had canceled the annual observance.

Admittedly, I'm not a fan of the president's policies, or of many of the decisions he has made since he's been in office. But, even I was skeptical of the Facebook message's accuracy, so I checked into it a bit further.

As it turns out, Obama has not canceled the National Day of Prayer. He has chosen to recognize the occasion with a proclamation, according to the Associated Press.

With that issue put to rest in my mind, I began to think about my own prayer life -- or, at least, what there is of it. I don't spend nearly the amount of time I should, praying or studying God's Word. I could try to make excuses for it -- such as a busy schedule, or just not having a lot of time to set aside for prayer -- but the truth is that we make time for the things that matter to us.

I never seem to have a problem finding time to watch my favorite television shows. I can always find ways to play on my Facebook page, or go singing with friends at the end of a long week.

However, when it comes to strengthening my relationship with God, I play the "busy reporter" card in an effort to make myself feel better. My Bible reading is the same way. It's hard to read my Bible on a daily basis in my bedroom, or at my kitchen table, if it's in the back seat of my car, from the last time I sat on the front row at church.

My point is, while Christians should certainly celebrate and fight to keep our National Day of Prayer, we should also be careful not to limit our prayers to one day a year.

We have the freedom to pray. We must use it.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.