Virginia Senate Republican Caucus

Can We Still Observe a National Day of Prayer?

ajohnston's picture
Thu, 2010-05-06 20:00 -- ajohnston

Recently, one of my legislative interns sent the following research memo to me which I thought was worthwhile sharing with you to demonstrate the insight of some of our young people today.  

Memo to Senator Walter Stosch
          This Thursday, May 6, the people of our nation will once again observe our official National Day of Prayer.   A number of activities  are  available to us in the Richmond area including a 1:00pm program at the Capitol Bell Tower.

          Despite one recent court ruling declaring the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, the National Day of Prayer Task Force continues to promote the power of prayer as a source of comfort, strength, healing and guidance.  The resolution passed by Congress in 1952 still stands as does the President's proclamation this year.  No court can stop you or me from engaging in these planned events.

           Prayer has been a powerful tradition in American life since the founding of our great nation.  Since the English colonists in Jamestown and Plymouth, prayer has been used for guidance, strength and wisdom to seek solutions in desperate times.  In 1775, the Continental Congress proclaimed  'a day for publick humiliation, fasting and prayer'  to inspire God to find a speedy end of the discord between Great Britain and the American Colonies.  A National Day of Prayer was proclaimed later by John Adams in 1798 and again by Abraham Lincoln in April 1863.  Our leaders have called upon the American people to reflect and pray for guidance in times of change and uncertainty.

            In 1952, President Truman signed a House and Senate joint resolution creating a National Day of Prayer.  President Regan amended the resolution by creating a recurring date for the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May.  President Regan called 'upon every citizen of this great Nation to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, for unity of the hearts of all mankind.'  

            In uncertain times, prayer is a source of comfort and guidance.  Prayer has been woven into our political tradition since the Revolutionary Era.  Prayers that open legislative sessions as well as simple phrases such as 'In God We Trust' and 'May God bless America' exemplify how religion has been woven into our government as a source of almighty authority.  Constituents and lawmakers use prayer to find the strength and guidance to make the right decisions that will ensure the continuance of our most basic freedoms. 

          As our nation faces a complex array of economic, social and political troubles, the National Day of Prayer offers us a collective moment to reflect on our lives, our communities and our nation and to pray as a country.  Let us celebrate our religious freedom by offering prayers for guidance and strength for each other and for our nation.  

              From the National Day of Prayer website  you can find more information including the Richmond events.  I trust you find this information helpful as this important day approaches.

Anne F
College of William and Mary                                                   

 Authorized and Paid for by Friends of Walter Stosch