On May 5th Americans across the country will bend their knees in prayer for our nation. Dr. Dobson is joined in the studio today by Shirley Dobson and this year’s National Day of Prayer Honorary Chairman, Joni Eareckson Tada. They will discuss how to get involved in this year's event and remind us why NOW is the time to bring the needs of this great land before the throne of God.
Shirley Dobson is nationally recognized for her leadership skills and her many contributions to women’s affairs, Christian organizations, and the institution of the family. Former President Ronald Reagan invited Mrs. Dobson to the White House for a Christian Women’s Leadership Conference in 1988. Also in that year she was awarded the Second Annual Maggie Sloane Crawford Award by Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Illinois. In May 1989 she received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky; in September 1992 she was honored with the Christian Woman of the Year Award; in May 1995 she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Biola University in La Mirada, California; in May 1997 she received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Huntington College in Huntington, Indiana; and in October 2002 she received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, Texas. She was designated Churchwoman of the Year in 1996 by Religious Heritage of America; also that year, she received the Ambassador Award from Florida Family Council. In 1999 she received the Full-time Homemaker of the Year Award from Eagle Forum, and in 2000 the Distinguished Achievement Award from Point Loma Nazarene University. She was given the First Baptist Church of Dallas’ “W.A. Criswell Lifetime Christian Citizenship Award” in 2006.
A graduate of Pasadena College, Shirley Dobson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education; her name was included in “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities” during both her junior and senior years. Following graduation she taught in the Hudson and Arcadia Unified School Districts in California. After her marriage and the birth of her first child, she chose to become a full-time mother and homemaker.
Mrs. Dobson’s outreach to Christian women has included leadership roles in Bible Study Fellowship and other groups devoted to the study of Scripture. She has also served as Director of Women’s Ministries for a large evangelical church and has spoken across the country about issues affecting women and families. She was a featured speaker at Focus’ “Renewing the Heart” women’s conferences.
Currently, Mrs. Dobson serves as Chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Through the efforts of her team, more than 35,000 prayer gatherings are conducted by approximately 40,000 volunteers across the country. Several million people participate every year in this call to prayer for our nation, its leaders and citizens. In addition, Mrs. Dobson is the Director Emerita for Focus on the Family.
Shirley Dobson and Gloria Gaither have co-authored a four-book series for families. The publications are titled MAKING ORDINARY DAYS EXTRAORDINARY, CREATING FAMILY TRADITIONS, CELEBRATING SPECIAL TIMES WITH SPECIAL PEOPLE, and HIDE IT IN YOUR HEART. Shirley has also co-authored NIGHT LIGHT: A DEVOTIONAL FOR COUPLES and NIGHTLIGHT FOR PARENTS with her husband, Dr. James Dobson. Her book describing the remarkable gift of prayer, CERTAIN PEACE IN UNCERTAIN TIMES, was published in 2002.
Shirley Dobson is the wife of psychologist and author Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and Family Talk. She and her husband reside in Colorado Springs and have two grown children and one grandchild.
John Bornschein is the Executive Director of the National Day of Prayer Task Force and an Executive Member of the National Prayer Committee. His 17 years in ministry spans a range of vast responsibilities including time as a missionary, youth pastor and service with Mission of Mercy, Heritage Builders, Focus on the Family and the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
He and his team have been charged by Mrs. Shirley Dobson to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.
John is the Executive Producer of "Drive Thru History: America", the latest video curriculum in the popular series seen on History Channel International and Trinity Broadcasting Network. John is also a speaker with the Focus on the Family Spiritual Growth of Children Conferences, attended by thousands around the country.
As an author, John has contributed to dozens of resources including the books, Heal Our Land, Compassion Revolution, Start Your Family, Together in Prayer and Celebration Parenthood. He is currently writing a book for the National Day of Prayer titled, The Front Line: Prayer and Spiritual Warfare. In addition, he has written for several publications including Horizon, Prayer Lines and Focus on the Family.
John is a frequent guest on radio programs across the nation and has hosted the Focus on the Family broadcast and Life Today on Salem networks. He is currently a co-host of the Engage in Truth podcast.
John holds a B.Th and is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity degree from Bethany Baptist Seminary.
He has served at the United Nations in New York and with our congressional leaders in Washington D.C., as a representative for the National Day of Prayer. But his true joy is his wife and their five children who love the Lord. They reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Joni Earckson Tada, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, is an international advocate for people with disabilities.
A diving accident in 1967 left Joni Eareckson, then 17, a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, unable to use her hands. After two years of rehabilitation, she emerged with new skills and a fresh determination to help others in similar situations.
During her rehabilitation, Joni spent long months learning how to paint with a brush between her teeth. Her high-detail fine art paintings and prints are highly sought-after.
Her best-selling autobiography “Joni” and the feature film of the same name have been translated into many languages, introducing her to people around the world. She also has visited more than 45 countries.
Joni and Friends International Disability Center was founded in 1979 as she and her friends responded to the many questions and needs pouring in from families affected by disability who had read Joni’s books or had seen the movie of her life.
She has served on the National Council on Disability and the Disability Advisory Committee to the U.S. State Department. This year, she is serving as Honorary Chair of the National Day of Prayer, which is May 5, 2011.
She is Senior Associate for Disability Concerns for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization and serves in an advisory capacity to the American Leprosy Mission, the National Institute on Learning Disabilities, Christian Blind Mission International, as well as on the Board of Reference for the Christian Writers Guild and the Christian Medical and Dental Society.
After being the first woman honored by the National Association of Evangelicals as its "Layperson of the Year" in 1986, Joni was named "Churchwoman of the Year" in 1993 by the Religious Heritage Foundation.
She has received numerous other awards and honors, including the American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award; The Courage Award from the Courage Rehabilitation Center; The Award of Excellence from the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center; The Victory Award from the National Rehabilitation Hospital; and The Golden Word Award from the International Bible Society.
Joni has been awarded several honorary degrees, including: Bachelor of Letters from Western Maryland College; Doctor of Humanities from Gordon College; Doctor of Humane Letters from Columbia International University, the first bestowed in its 75-year history; Doctor of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary; Doctor of Divinity from Lancaster Bible College; a Doctor of Humanitarian Services from California Baptist University; and in 2009, a Doctor of Humane Letters by Indiana Wesleyan University. She was also inducted into Indiana Wesleyan University’s “Society of World Changers.”
Joni has written 46 books and numerous magazine articles. She was inducted into the Christian Booksellers’ Association’s Hall of Honor in 1995 and received the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Joni’s works cover topics ranging from disability outreach to reaching out to God and include: “A Christmas Longing,” depicting her best-loved Christmas paintings, and “Life and Death Dilemma,” addressing the tough issues of physician-assisted suicide.
The mystery of suffering is systematically examined in “When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty,” a book written with Steve Estes in 1997 which won the Gold Medallion Award. In 2003, Joni wrote her memoirs, “The God I Love,” chronicling a lifetime walking with Jesus. Her latest book, “A Place of Healing,” recounts her recent journey through physical pain and unanswered prayer, coming to terms with the fact that God, who could definitely heal her, once again chose not to do so.
In 2004, Joni received a Gold Medallion for co-authoring “Hymns for a Kid’s Heart, Volume 1.” She has written several children's books, including “Tell Me The Promises,” which received a Gold Medallion and a Silver Medal in the 1997 C.S. Lewis Awards, and “Tell Me The Truth,” which received a Gold Medallion in 1998.
Beginning in 1982, she hosted “Joni and Friends,” a daily five-minute radio program of information and inspiration. Now four minutes in length, the program airs on more than 1,000 outlets and reaches 1 million listeners a week. The 30-minute television version of “Joni and Friends” looks at people who inspire Joni by enduring the most difficult trials while continuing to trust in God. In 2002, Joni received the William Ward Ayer Award for excellence from the National Religious Broadcasters’ Association. She introduced a new one-minute inspirational program, “Diamonds in the Dust,” in 2010, which airs daily on hundreds of stations nationwide and was named the National Religious Broadcasters Radio Program of the Year (Short Form).
In June of 2010, Joni was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Having undergone surgery and chemotherapy, she remains committed to invest her energies and efforts in kingdom building initiatives around the globe. She has been interviewed or featured on TV shows such as “Larry King Live” and “ABC World News Tonight,” in print outlets such as Christianity Today, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times and on radio shows such as “Focus on the Family.”
Joni and her husband, Ken Tada, have been married since 1982.