This Thursday, May 3, is the 67th Annual National Day of Prayer in the United States. The theme this year is “Love One Another,” which couldn’t be a better one when it comes to praying for others. In his talk Baptist Minister Chuck Norris tells about "The National Day of Prayer" as an important part of the American heritage.
The National Day of Prayer has been an annual observance since 1952, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation and world. It was created by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, and annually observed by presidents ever since on the first Thursday of May.
Its approval flew through the Congress almost seven decades ago as a way to help separate America as a country with a godly heritage and to aid her success against atheistic communism.
(In 1956, the motto “In God We Trust” was also universally printed on all U.S. currency for the same basic reasons.)
As they explain: “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. …”
The NDP website summarized the significance of this Thursday this way:
The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation as 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. 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.
It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people.
Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, [the National Day of Prayer] has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Every 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 over 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 NDP website gives these interesting “fun facts” about prayer and politics:
- There have been 146 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the president of the United States (1789-2017).
- There have been 69 presidential proclamations for a National Day of Prayer (1952-2017). Gerald R. Ford (1976), George H. Bush (1989-91), Barack H. Obama (2012), and Donald J. Trump (2017) are the only U.S. presidents to sign multiple National Day of Prayer Proclamations in the same year.
- Every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.
- Thirty-five of the 45 U.S. presidents have signed proclamations for National Prayer. Three of the presidents who did not sign a proclamation died while serving in office. Two presidents, not included in the count – William Howard Taft and Warren Gamaliel Harding – signed Proclamations for Thanksgiving and Prayer.
- Records indicate there have been 1,526 state and federal calls for national prayer since 1775 and counting.
The NDP website added, “In 1988, the law [for a national day of prayer] 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.
For all the above reasons, I (Chuck Norris) urge every American to locate and join a group in your local community on this National Day of Prayer, and bow your head in prayer with millions across the country, beseeching God to protect, forgive and heal our land, as well as submit us to His rule and reign as our founders did.
“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
As heard in the words of President George Washington, to make us remind everyone we know with our words and actions of all the grace we were once given.