In response to an address that the Reverend Billy Graham gave on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in February 1952, a bill calling for an annual National Day of Prayer was unanimously passed through Congress, then signed by President Harry Truman on April 17, 1952 (Public Law 82-324).
On January 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the designation for the first Thursday in May to be set aside each year as an annual observance for the National Day of Prayer (Public Law 100-307), followed by President Bill Clinton signing the following into law on August 12, 1998:
The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals. (Pub.L. 105-225)
Today, many Christians are unaware that we live in a nation that has a law in place requiring our President to proclaim a National Day of Prayer each year! As citizens and residents of the United States, and as believers in Christ Jesus, we not only have a spiritual responsibility according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2 to pray for ‘all those in authority’, but we also have a civic responsibility to heed our President’s call to stand in the gap for our nation!
In 1942, my dad, at the age of 25, volunteered to leave his family and the safety of home to engage an enemy that was threatening our nation’s very existence. Hundreds of thousands of young men and women did the same – heeding our President’s call to war. As our troops fought on the battlefields, thousands of God’s people waged war in the heavenly places, knowing that the “weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Cor. 10:4 NIV) So, as followers of Jesus we face the threats of terrorism, cultural division, rebellion in our cities and anarchy in our streets – confident in knowing that we have a place to run – not to hide, but to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)
As the 66th Annual National Day of Prayer approaches, we’re looking for individuals, churches, and communities who are willing to join us in rallying millions of Christians to once again heed the call to stand in the gap!
To learn more about the National Day of Prayer, and how you can be involved, Click Here. To order resources to help you promote the National Day of Prayer in your community or church, visit our web store at www.nationaldayofprayer.net.
Chief Communications Officer
National Day of Prayer Task Force