The theme of the National Day of Prayer 2023 in the U.S. is “Pray Fervently in Righteousness and Avail Much.” This is from James 5:16b, which reads, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (NKJV).
This theme is chosen each year by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a Christian nonprofit organization that helps organize and coordinate prayers for our nation throughout the country on this annual observance.
**By the way, if you still have questions or want additional resources after reading this National Day of Prayer Prayer 2023 Guide, the website NationalDayofPrayer.org has TONS of great resources to help you celebrate this important holiday as well.
10 Ways to Pray for Our Country on National Day of Prayer 2023
There aren’t any specific rules for when and how to pray on National Day of Prayer, so it’s pretty much impossible to do it wrong.
Still, it can be incredibly helpful to have some guidance and suggestions about what to pray for.
You can start by praying these prayers for our nation, and then continue with other types of prayer if you feel moved to do so.
1. The President (Joe Biden)
Regardless of what your political affiliations are, the President needs our prayers, just as 1 Timothy 2:1–2 instructs. Pray that he may lead the country in peace and wisdom and protect people’s liberties.
2. The Vice President (Kamala Harris)
Likewise, the person second in command behind the President needs prayers for wisdom in her leadership.
Leaders in both the Senate and the House of Representatives need prayers that they will represent the people and maintain honesty and integrity and all they do.
4. Regional and Local Leaders
In addition to national leaders, pray that the people in state and local offices may govern with wisdom, integrity, and peace.
5. The Military, Law Enforcement, and Their Families
Men and women in uniform put their lives at stake every day to protect freedom. Pray for their safety and for their families to be cared for.
6. Future Elections
Even if 2023 isn’t a major election year, candidates are mobilizing for 2024 campaigns. Pray that the right people to bring about God’s will are put in the right places.
7. Submission to God and His Authority
Ultimately, God rules over everything and His will shall be done. Pray that the government submits to His will and authority in everything.
8. Respect for Life—ALL life
The debate over the sanctity of life and how to protect it is nothing new, but it continues to be relevant on many levels in 2023. Pray that those who cannot protect themselves from injustice are delivered from harm.
9. Protection of Liberty and Freedom
Freedom is a great privilege and a concept that this country was founded on. Pray that it is protected for all citizens of our nation, regardless of race, gender, religion, age, cultural background, and any other factors.
10. That Justice Prevails
While God is the one who will distribute justice, you can pray that what is right may prevail in our earthly courts of law.
5 Types of Prayer to Include in National Day of Prayer 2023
In addition to praying for our country’s leaders and the governing authorities, here are 5 additional types of prayers you may want to pray for National Day of Prayer 2023.
1. Prayers of Confession
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
I’m starting with this suggestion because it makes me feel a little squirmy. But experience has taught me that my prayers are more authentic when I speak from a place of humility and personal repentance.
Many of the great prayers of the Bible are of confession, either for an individual or for whole people groups. Let me be clear, however; the purpose of confession is not to feel ashamed and guilty. It’s to step forward in the ongoing restoration and healing in our relationships with God and the people around us.
Confession is an especially powerful approach on the National Day of Prayer because so many of our communities are hurting.
Be specific in confession: How have you or your community fallen short? How would you like to change?
Related: 5 Ways to Pray for Strength from the Psalms
2. Prayers of Praise and Gratitude
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
While it can be very easy to focus on everything that’s wrong with our nation today, the truth is that there is a LOT of good in the world too — we just have to be intentional about looking for it.
The National Day of Prayer is a wonderful opportunity to praise the Lord for what He has done and what He continues to do in our nation and in our communities. It’s also an opportunity to praise and thank Him for who He is, which has never changed.
What unexpected blessings has God given you in this season? In what ways has He provided for your family or helped keep you safe?
Related: How to Get Closer to God When You’re Feeling Distant
3. Prayers for God’s Kingdom
…Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
One of Jesus’ main teachings points throughout the Gospels is the kingdom of God. What He’s referring to is God’s reign and authority on earth—even when it doesn’t look that way.
What a powerful thing to pray about on the National Day of Prayer 2023: that in the face of the darkness and suffering that we hear about every day, God’s authority and goodness would shine through.
As scary as current events can be, the truth is that the things that trouble us (of the world) are only temporary.
How can you pray about the things (of God’s kingdom) that will last forever?
Related: How to Seek the Kingdom of God First (Matthew 6:33)
4. Prayers for Our Families and Communities
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
These types of prayers are typically the easiest because your family and your community are the people you care about most!
The National Day of Prayer 2023 is another opportunity to lift up those you love, along with millions of others’ loved ones.
You can pray for the health, faith, safety and well-being of people like:
- Your spouse
- Your kids
- Your parents
- Your siblings and their families
- Your neighbors
- Your church
- Your kids’ teachers
- Who else can you pray for today?
Related: 5 Powerful Prayers Every Wife Should Pray Over Her Husband
5. Prayers for Those Suffering and in Need
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
This category could go on forever…because the impoverished, the suffering and those who need justice will always be among us.
On this National Day of Prayer 2023, you could pray for those in the U.S. and abroad, including:
- The homeless
- The hungry
- The lonely
- The heartbroken
- Those living in fear of violence and abuse
- Victims of human trafficking and slavery
- The persecuted, oppressed and wrongly accused
- Migrants and refugees
- The unborn in threat of abortion, as well as their parents
- Orphans and children whose families can’t or won’t care for them
- Widows/widowers and the elderly who don’t have love and support
- The sick (physically, emotionally and spiritually)
- The wounded (physically, emotionally and spiritually)
- Those without access to basic needs like clean water, healthcare and education
- Who else is God putting on your heart to pray for today?
This is not an exhaustive list of things to pray for, but I think it’s enough to keep us all pretty busy! Alternatively, you may be interested in checking out this list of things to pray for from the Bible or this printable prayer journal that can give you lots of ideas.
Are you participating in National Day of Prayer 2023? What are you praying for personally?