By the President of the United States of America
In a country built by people from hundreds of nations and with as many beliefs, we rely upon our religious liberty in order to preserve the individuality and great diversity that give our Nation its unique richness and strength of character. America's founders saw the urgent need to protect religious freedom and opened debate on the important subject when the Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia to chart a course for our nascent country. After hearing Massachusetts delegate Samuel Adams' plea, the Congress voted to begin its session with a prayer. When the framers of the Bill of Rights set down our fundamental rights, the free exercise of religion rightfully took its place at the head of our enumerated liberties.
As our Nation has grown and flourished, our Government has welcomed divine guidance in its work, while respecting the rich and varied faiths of all of its citizens. Many of our greatest leaders have asked God's favor in public and private prayer. From patriots and presidents to advocates for justice, our history reflects the strong presence of prayer in American life. Presidents, above all, need the power of prayer, their own and that of all Americans.
We need not shrink as Americans from asking for divine assistance in our continuing efforts to relieve human suffering at home and abroad, to reduce hatred, violence, and abuse, and to restore families across our land. By following our own beliefs while respecting the convictions of others, we can strengthen our people and rebuild our Nation. As Micah reminds us, we must strive "to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly" before God.
The Congress, by joint resolution approved April 17, 1952, having recognized the role of faith and prayer in the lives of the American people throughout our history, has set aside a day each year as a "National Day of Prayer." Since that time, each President has proclaimed an annual National Day of Prayer, resuming the tradition begun by our leaders in the Nation's earliest days. Pursuant to Public Law 100–307 of May 5, 1988, the first Thursday of each May has been set aside as a National Day of Prayer.
Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 5, 1994, as a National Day of Prayer. I encourage the citizens of this great Nation to gather, each in his or her own manner, to recognize our blessings, acknowledge our wrongs, to remember the needy, to seek guidance for our challenging future, and to give thanks for the abundance we have enjoyed throughout our history.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON