The purpose of the National Day of Prayer is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the American culture.
The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. The National Day of Prayer exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer. National Day of Prayer, also, represents a Judeo-Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.
Because of the faith of many of our founding fathers, public prayer and national days of prayer have a long-standing and a significant history in our American traditions. The Supreme Court affirmed the right of state legislatures to open their sessions with prayer in Marsh vs. Chambers (1983).
The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the President signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.
The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation as it enables us to recall and teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.
I want to extend to you an invitation to come and pray for your national, state and local governments on this coming Thursday, May 6 at noon. This event will only last an hour and is important as we struggle to maintain being, “One Nation Under God, Indivisible With Liberty and Justice for All.” The churches of Okeechobee will be participating as well as selected community leaders and take place on the lawn between the old and new courthouses. The Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee will provide pizza and a cold drink for all who attend. Some seating will be provided, but to assure yourself a place to sit, please bring your own chair.