Today is the National Day of Prayer, an annual observance held on the first Thursday in May when individuals of all faiths are asked to join together to pray for our nation. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but do you know how it came to be?
According to nationaldayofprayer.org, the observance 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. Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, this day has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation. Regardless of your religious affiliation, prayer unites people, provides hope and guidance and is an opportunity to give thanks. Take some time today to pray with your community or on your own – perhaps by attending a service or having some quiet time alone, but consider celebrating the ways in which we can be spiritual. If you’ve been considering rejuvenating your own faith, this may be just what you need.