Thursday, May 7, 2009

Let Us Pray

National Day of Prayer

Today's Word:
Acts 13:13-25 (Paul preaches at Antioch)
Psalm 89:2-3, 21-27 (Forever I will sing of the Lord's goodness)
John 13:16-20 ("No slave is greater than his master; no messenger greater than the one who sent him")

There have been several national days of prayer in the U.S. before the day was made official in 1952. The Continental Congress issued a day of prayer in 1775 to designate "a time for prayer in forming a new nation". During the Quasi-War with France, President John Adams declared May 9, 1798 as "a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer," during which citizens of all faiths were asked to pray "that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it". The words prayer and day have been used together in speeches by every U.S. president since the founding of the nation.

The idea
(for this day as we know it today)originated with the Rev. Billy Graham, who suggested it in the midst of a several-weeks crusade in the nation’s capitol.

A Senate report falsely claims as part of the rationale for the law that prayers were conducted at the Constitutional Convention, which adopted the U.S. Constitution: “When the delegates to the Constitutional Convention encountered difficulties in the writing and formation of a Constitution for this Nation, prayer was suggested and became an established practice at succeeding sessions,” according to the report by the Committee on the Judiciary.

However, Benjamin Franklin suggested prayer, but in his own notes recorded that the convention, “except for three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary.” His suggestion to pray was met politely but with some embarrassment, scholars note, and delegates quickly adjourned.

On April 17, 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill proclaiming a National Day of Prayer must be declared by each following president at an appropriate date of his choice. In 1982 a National Prayer Committee formed to coordinate and implement a fixed commemorated day of prayer. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan amended the law decreeing that the National Day of Prayer should be held on the first Thursday of May. A claimed intention of the National Day of Prayer was that it would be a day when members of all faiths could pray together in their own way.

Almighty God, Creator of all,
it is You - and only You - that know the motives of our minds and hearts.
In your endless grace,
continue to guide us toward the path of truth and peace.
Protect us, and our families and friends;
Indeed, protect all creation from the many dangers that threaten us all.
On this day set aside by civic leaders as a day of prayer,
may our leaders see in this moment
the genuine sanctity of all life; human, animal, and plant.
May they be led by your outstretched arm to uphold, defend, and protect
the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, truth, and peace.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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