Did you know the National Day of Prayer was established in 1952 by a joint resolution in Congress? Our national government saw need for a national day of prayer and President Harry Truman promptly signed that resolution into law and every president since then has issued a proclamation.
But the roots of prayer in our country go back much further than that! In 1775, before America’s birth, the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for the forming of a nation! Our nation was founded on prayer!
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called the nation to a day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer” as our country dealt with difficult circumstances.
In 1983, the US Supreme Court affirmed the right of state legislatures to open their sessions in prayer, and in 1988 President Ronald Reagan signed a law into order, establishing the first Thursday of May the official National Day of Prayer in America.
Each year, the President signs a proclamation, and typically all 50 state governors sign similar proclamations, reiterating the importance of this very critical calling. In total, US Presidents have officially called 146 National Days of Prayer (sometimes multiple times in a year), and there have been a total of 1,526 federal and state calls to prayer since 1775.
To say that prayer is not a foundational tenet of our country would be ridiculous. Though prayer was pushed from our schools and other public places (government included), prayer remains a foundation upon which America rests and is blessed.
This year’s theme is Pray God’s Glory across the Earth, based on Habakkuk 2:14:
For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.
Join the online live event hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association at 5pm Arizona time (8pm Eastern), or utilize the excellent How to Pray for America prayer guide. I’m praying today, how about you?
PS: Yes, there has been a definite prayer theme so far this week! That is intentional, as I sense the Lord moving the Body of Christ to pray as never before. In case you missed it, on Monday we focused on praying for our people (our countrymen), as Daniel did for his people. Yesterday, the primary focus was on the Isaiah 62 Prayer Initiative calling on believers around the world to join in prayer for Israel. Today, we pray specifically for our government leaders and other institutions in America.
Indeed, may the Lord fill the earth with His glory!