What is National Day of Prayer?
As per The National Day of Prayer website:
"The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual, national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations."
1775 – The first Continental Congress called for a National Day of Prayer
1863 – Abraham Lincoln called for such a day.
1952 – Congress established a National Day of Prayer as an annual event by a joint resolution, signed into law by President Truman (82-324)
1988 – Two stated intentions of the National Day of Prayer were that it would be a day when adherents of all great religions could unite in prayer and that it may one day bring renewed respect for God to all the peoples of the world.
- Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush each hosted special events for the day only once during their administrations.
- President Bill Clinton did not hold any events for this holiday during his time in office, though he issued proclamations annually.
- George W. Bush held events on the National Day of Prayer for each year he was in office.
- President Barack Obama has not held a formal event for the National Day of Prayer, put has issued proclamations annually.
The National Day of Prayer is being challenged in court by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. However, their first challenge was unanimously dismissed by a federal appellate court in April 2011.
National Day of Prayer Activities and Printables