POLL: As National Day of Prayer approaches, what’s your loudest prayer for?

May 2 is the National Day of Prayer.

Here are seven things to know about its history:

  • The first day of prayer was in 1775 – the Continental Congress wanted a time to pray for the new nation.
  • In 1798, President John Adams made a proclamation recommending “a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.”
  • In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln also designated a day for fasting and prayer.
  • In 1952, the National Day of Prayer was officially established in a bill signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. He proclaimed July 4 as the that year's day of prayer.
  • In 1988, Ronald Reagan declared May 5 the National Day of Prayer. He amended Truman's law and permanently set the date for the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May.
  • President George W. Bush held an interfaith service at the White House each year during his presidency. In 2009, President Barack Obama opted not to follow suit. He was the first president to mention nonbelievers in an inaugural address.
  • Presidents have routinely made proclamations for the National Day of Prayer. The National Day of Prayer Task Force has an archive of proclamations back to 1990, though there were many prayer proclamatins made before then. Although the Task Force organizes many of the events for the day, is not a government organization – rather, it is a Christian one, which operates “in accordance with its Judeo-Christian beliefs.” However, the National Day of Prayer, as proclaimed by government, is for all people, regardless of religion. 

Now, we'd like to hear from you. What are you praying for?

Share your thoughts and prayers in the comments section below.

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