Fibro fog, pain, writing sandwiched in between. Quotes. Sermon notes. Encouragement.
|Throughout the history of our country, our presidents, our congress, and our citizens have prayed.
The first day of prayer was declared when the Continental Congress designated a time of prayer in forming a new nation – in 1775.
George Washington proclaimed a day of public thanksgiving and prayer on February 19, 1795.
President John Adams declared May 9, 1798 as a day of fasting and prayer during which citizens of all faiths were asked to pray, "that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it.”
President James Madison proclaimed a day of prayer in 1813.
President Abraham Lincoln signed a resolution which called for a day of fasting and prayer on March 30, 1863. Lincoln said, “it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
President Truman signed a law (the bill had been unanimously passed by both houses of congress) proclaiming a National Day of Prayer which required the president to select a day each year. That year, it was April 17, 1952.
In 1988, the National Day of Prayer was fixed as the first Thursday of May each year. The Senate bill – S 1378 – was introduced by Strom Thurmond (R-SC) and the House bill was introduced by Tony Hall (D-OH). There was broad bipartisan sponsorship and support for the bill and it became Public Law 100-307 and was signed by President Reagan. Reagan said, “On our National Day of Prayer, then, we join together as people of many faiths to petition God to show us His mercy and His love, to heal our weariness and uphold our hope, that we might live ever mindful of His justice and thankful for His blessing.” He also said,"From General Washington's struggle at Valley Forge to the present, this Nation has fervently sought and received divine guidance as it pursued the course of history. This occasion provides our Nation with an opportunity to further recognize the source of our blessings, and to seek His help for the challenges we face today and in the future.”
From 1993 to 1998, here are some of President Clinton’s words:
"Through prayer our people take a moment away from the concerns of everyday life to understand the greater power that gives us guidance. We come together in an act common to all religions."
"I encourage the citizens of this great Nation to gather, each in his or her own manner, to recognize our blessings, acknowledge our wrongs, to remember the needy, to seek guidance for our challenging future, and to give thanks for the abundance we have enjoyed throughout our history."
"I call upon every citizen of this great Nation to gather together on that day to pray, each in his or her own manner, for God's continued guidance and blessing."
"And though our citizens come from every nation on Earth and observe an extraordinary variety of religious faith [sic] and traditions, prayer remains at the heart of the American spirit."
"...let us uphold the tradition of observing a day in which every American, in his or her own way, may come before God seeking increased peace, guidance, and wisdom for the challenges ahead."
"In every city, town, and rural community across our country, people of every religious denomination gather to worship according to their faith. In churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques, Americans come together to pray."
In 2001, on May 3, the 50th National Day of Prayer was held and it was estimated that 2.5 million people attended 40,000 events across the United States.
From the National Day of Prayer web site:
The National Day of Prayer is Significant
The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation. It enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call to us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.
Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, this day has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Last year, local, state and federal observances were held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for our nation. It is estimated that more than two million people attended more than 30,000 observances organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers. At state capitols, county court houses, on the steps of city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes, people stopped their activities and gathered for prayer.
The National Day of Prayer is Ours
The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. Mrs. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman, reminds us: “We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”
Also from that site:
There have been 135 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President of the United States (1789-2009).
There have been 57 Presidential Proclamations for a “National Day of Prayer” (1952-2009).
Gerald Ford (1976) and George H. Bush (1989-91) are the only U.S. Presidents to sign two National Day of Prayer Proclamations in the same year.
Every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.
33 of the 44 U.S. Presidents have signed proclamations for National Prayer. Four of the Presidents who did not sign a proclamation died while serving in office.
The theme of the 2010 National Day of Prayer is "Prayer for Such a Time as This" and is based on the verse from Nahum 1:7 which states: "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." Note: Nahum is a book in the Hebrew Bible.
Our Father and our God,
We thank you for the many blessings you have poured out on America,and we praise you for your mercy.
You have said, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people."
We confess, O Lord, our national and personal sins. We repent and ask forgiveness for all actions that dishonor you.
O God, bless our President and other leaders. Provide them with wisdom and move them to honor you.
Deliver this great nation from all our enemies as we recommit ourselves to trust, serve and obey your commands.
We pray in your holy name,
2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.