When the National Day of Prayer is observed on Thursday, two disabled women will be front and center. Perhaps God didn't answer their prayers for healing, but they were answered in other ways instead.

One is Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic since the age of 17 and an advocate for people with disabilities worldwide. As the NDP's Honorary Chairman this year, she will give the keynote address at the national observance in Washington, D.C., as well as read the 2011 National Prayer.

Ginny Owens

Ginny Owens

The other is Ginny Owens, blind since early childhood but today an acclaimed singer/songwriter in both Christian music and outside the box too. Owens was invited to sing at the event in Washington on Thursday, and tells CT she's "very excited" about it.

We asked Owens a few questions via e-mail about this opportunity.

Why do you want to do this?

I know that I need to pray nearly as often as I need to breathe. I'm honored to get to pray for our nation with others who likely feel the same way. I consider it a tremendous blessing and privilege that in this country, we still have the freedom to pray publicly, and that's a freedom we may not always have.

Do you consider yourself a "political" person?

I do not consider the National Day of Prayer a political event at all. Instead I think of it as a day to fall upon our faces before God and ask for mercy for our nation and revival for the hearts of its people. I am in no way a political activist. Although I have many personal convictions, I prefer to use music as a means of communicating God's love and truth to others. I'll leave politics to the politicians.

Some people complain about NDP, saying it's unconstitutional (though an appeals court recently ruled that it is constitutional). Your thoughts?

I can't imagine that our nation would have flourished without the prayers of generations—from the Pilgrims to the Founding Fathers to today's citizens. But convincing those who don't acknowledge God that prayer is both Constitutional and necessary is impossible without intervention from God himself.

This year's theme is "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." The press release says it's based on Psalm 91:2, but I bet most people associate those words with the great Lutheran hymn. What are your thoughts on those words and this year's theme, and why it's important at this time in our nation's history?

Currently, the things that seem most powerful in our world are dark, dangerous, and daunting—the threat of terrorism, uprisings, and wars in so many places, natural disasters, economic unrest, and the list goes on. This year's theme calls us to focus on the hugeness of God. His might, power, and strength are greater than all the looming disasters of the world combined. For those who know him, he is a fortress—a strong tower and refuge. He is our only true protection, our only hope. To consider his greatness as we lay the concerns of our country before him gives us a sense of awe, as well as confidence, that things can change.

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Have you decided which songs you'll sing? And will you have an opportunity to speak as well?

There are several events this week at which I'll be singing 2-4 songs each. On Thursday, the National Day of Prayer, I will perform three songs at a public service at the Cannon House across from the Capitol. The NDP Task Force and I have worked together to carefully choose the correct songs for all events. In addition to a song I wrote specifically for the day, I will sing "If You Want Me To" and "Say Amen." My speaking will be minimal, although I will likely share how prayer has made a difference in my life.

Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni Eareckson Tada is honorary chairman, and you're singing. Were they intentional about asking people with disabilities to help lead this year's event?

I don't have any idea about whether or not the NDP Task Force was interested in acknowledging those of us with disabilities. (I remember being part of another national event with Joni where we chuckled at this very question.) My guess is that neither Joni nor I are too concerned with whether or not our disabilities made us candidates for the NDP events. I'm confident that both of us are passionate prayer warriors and desire to encourage others in prayer.

Do you think our government does a good job in helping America's disabled citizens? Should that fall to the government, or to agencies, programs, ministries?

Yikes! How many pages do you have for this article? :-) I tend to think that connecting with and caring for all people groups is first and foremost a responsibility of the church. But when it comes to reaching out to those with disabilities, I think the government is ahead of the church in some respects.

What do you think are America's most pressing concerns right now, and how can Christians and the church play a role in resolving those things?

I believe America's most pressing concern is its desperate need for Almighty God—the Fortress and Heavenly Father. If we believed in him and honored him as a nation, we would have a different perspective on the struggling economy, the unrest in the Middle East, and the multitude of other challenges that weigh so heavily upon us. I would go so far as to say that some of these challenges may not exist if we chose to humble ourselves before the Lord and ask for his guidance.

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As the church, we must intercede on behalf of our nation. It often seems that prayer is the last place we prefer to turn for the answers to our country's problems. It's much easier to attempt to legislate morality, rally around causes, and make our voices heard. But didn't Christ call us to love, serve, and teach the world? Didn't he call us to live as he did? In order for our nation to understand the absolute necessity of prayer and the great God to whom it is directed, the church will have to lead by example.

The National Day of Prayer Observance can be viewed live at the official website on Thursday, May 5, at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. To find a local NDP event near you, click here. See also Owens' recent interview with Fox TV.