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Tomorrow, May 2, 2024, will be the 73rd annual National Day of Prayer when Americans are encouraged to gather in towns, cities, and state capitals to specifically pray for the seven centers of influence in the nation which include government, military, media, business, education, church, and family.

This year’s theme, “Lift up the Word, Light up the World,” is based on 2 Samuel 22:29-31 which says, “For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God – His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.”

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, that requires presidents to declare an annual National Day of Prayer. It states, “Whereas the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on April 17, 1952, has provided that the President ‘shall set aside and proclaim a suitable day each year, other than a Sunday, as a National Day of Prayer, on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation’; and whereas I deem it fitting that this Day of Prayer coincide with the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which published to the world this Nation’s ‘firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.’”

Since then, every presidential proclamation since 1953 has included at least one reference to God. That is, until 2021, when Joe Biden omitted any reference to God in the annual proclamation of a National Day of Prayer.

In 1986, Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, and the National Prayer Committee, contacted Senator Strom Thurmond for guidance on writing a bill that would designate a day for the National Day of Prayer. Senator Thurmond wrote the bill that became S.1378. Thirteen Senators and 90 members of Congress signed it, and on May 5, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed it into law designating the first Thursday in May as the annual observance for the National Day of Prayer.

As a result of many of the Founders’ faith, public prayer has a long-standing and significant history in American tradition. In 1775, the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in establishing a fair government. Later they battled an almost insurmountable division. The large states wanted the legislature to represent the population and the little states wanted equal representation for each state. This conflict almost prevented the nation’s very existence but brought the Founders to their knees again. The eventual compromise resulted in creating both the Senate and House.

In a letter to Samuel Miller in 1808, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it.”

Author: Liberty Counsel


  1. 2nd Chronicles 7:14

    King James Bible
    If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, AND ,TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAY; THEN will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

    We need repentance.


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