By the President of the United States of America
We live during a time of great and historic change, a time that has seen the rise of newly democratic nations and the fall of once firmly entrenched totalitarian regimes. While such progress is cause for optimism and hope, the dramatic pace of global developments and the uncertainty they generate can also leave us with a faint sense of anticipation and unease. As we seek to chart a proper course in a world that is changing by the hour, our observance of a National Day of Prayer reminds us that we can always palce our trust in the steady, unfailing light that is the love of God.
Time and again, Scripture tells us of the constancy of the Almighty. Indeed, His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, wrote the Psalmist, and His dominion endures throughout all generations.
Our ancestors trusted in the faithfulness of the Almighty, and they frequently turned to Him in humble, heartfelt prayer. When they finally reached these shores, the early settlers gave thanks for their very lives -- and for the promise of freedom in a new land. Members of the Continental Congress began their deliberations with prayer, and later when members of that same body pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in support of our Nation's independence, they did so "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence."
Today we know that their trust was well placed; their faith, richly rewarded. The great American experiment in liberty and self-government has not only endured but prospered. The triumph of freedom in this country has inspired the advance of human rights and dignity around the globe.
Although much has transpired since our ancestors prayed for devine mercy and direction, this occasion calls us to remember, as did Ben Franklin and his contemporaries, "that God governs in the affairs of men." The One to whom George Washington turned when he knelt in the snow at Valley Forge is the same God who heard the prayers of President Lincoln nearly a century later during the darkest hours of the Civil War. While our needs today may be different, we are no less dependent on the help of Almighty God. Therefore, let us likewise seek His forgiveness, strength, and guidance.
Whatever our individual religious convictions may be, each of us is invited to join in this National Day of Prayer. Indeed, although we may find our own word to express it, each of us can echo this timeless prayer of Solomon, the ancient king who prayed for, and received, the gift of wisdom:
The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways . . . . that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.
Since the approval of the joint resolution of the Congress on April 17, 1952, calling for the designation of a specific day to be set aside each year as a National Day of Prayer, recognition of such a day has become a cherished annual event. Each President since then has proclaimed a National Day of Prayer annually under the authority of that resolution, continuing a tradition that dates back to the Continental Congress. By Public Law 100-307, the first Thursday in May of each year has been set aside as a National Day of Prayer.
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 7, 1992, as a National Day of Prayer. I urge all Americans to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, in thanksgiving to Almighty God. On this occasion, let us also pray for His continued blessing upon our families and Nation.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.