Editorial: A national day for prayer serves the country, its people well

Apr. 30, 2013 @ 11:13 PM

Sevier County holds its fifth annual Day of Prayer on Thursday, an observance that is a part of the National Day of Prayer as proclaimed by the president. This is not a day of only Christian prayer. It is a day when people of all faiths can come together and seek God’s wisdom and guidance to help us through troubled times.

The National Day of Prayer is celebrated by Americans of many religions. On the National Day of Prayer, many assemble in prayer in front of courthouses, as well as in houses of worship. Traditionally, the president of the United States issues an official National Day of Prayer proclamation each year as well. Thursday’s Sevier County observance starts at 9 a.m. at the courthouse, coordinated by Joann Jordan.

On April 17, 1952, President 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 conservative evangelical Christian organization called the National Prayer Committee was formed to coordinate and implement a fixed annual day of prayer for the purpose of organizing evangelical Christian prayer events with local, state and federal government entities.

In his 1983 declaration, Ronald Reagan said, “From General Washington’s struggle at Valley Forge to the present, this Nation has fervently sought and received divine guidance as it pursued the course of history. This occasion provides our Nation with an opportunity to further recognize the source of our blessings, and to seek His help for the challenges we face today and in the future.”[17]

In 1988, the law was amended so that the National Day of Prayer would be held on the first Thursday of May. Two stated intentions of the National Day of Prayer were that it would be a day when adherents of all great religions could unite in prayer and that it may one day bring renewed respect for God to all the peoples of the world.

More recently, the idea of an annual National Day of Prayer was introduced by the Rev. Billy Graham, who suggested it in the midst of a several-weeks crusade in the nation’s capital. Members of the House and Senate introduced a joint resolution for an annual 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.”

It’s a great event, a day when all people can pray to God for guidance and peace. Try to attend our observance on Thursday.