National Day of prayer to be held May 4

Published 1:41 am Saturday, April 29, 2017

The 66th Annual National Day of Prayer will be held on May 4. Millions of Americans will unite in prayer during thousands of prayer events taking place across the nation. Typically, local ministers and civic leaders are asked to pray aloud specifically for our nation, government leaders, media, schools, churches, and families.

Held the first Thursday in May, this annual observance invites people of all faiths to pray for the nation. 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.

Every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer Proclamation, and there have been 143 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President of the United States (1789-2016).

For instance, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of prayer and fasting. President Franklin Roosevelt led the nation in prayer on D-Day, June 6, 1944, “Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity…”

The National Day of Prayer Task Force’s mission is to “mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the culture,” the organization’s website states.

This year’s theme is “For Your Great Name’s Sake! Hear Us…Forgive Us…Heal Us!” It comes from Daniel 9:19, which says, “O Lord, Listen! O Lord, Forgive! O Lord, Hear and Act! For Your Sake, O My God…”.

“Scripture tells us again and again that our fervent prayer is effective. That our loving God responds to His children’s earnest pleas in mighty ways that avail much, and ultimately determine the course of history,” according to the Task Force, a privately-funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer.

“Today the need for prayer is as great as ever. Our nation again faces battlefields, along with an epidemic of broken homes, violence, sexual immorality and social strife. As the heroes of our nation did in the past, we must again bow our heads in prayer. We must ask the Lord to bless our leaders with wisdom and protection, and that we will have the fortitude to overcome the challenges at hand.”

Rev. Franklin Graham asks, “Pray that as a nation we would return to God. As we call on God, let us do so by genuine faith, believing that He hears our prayers. God can heal this great land, for which our forefathers fought and died. We need spiritual renewal, we need a revival in America, and we need each and everyone to pray. Lord, Hear Our Cry!”

Take a few minutes on Thursday, May 4 (and every day of the year) to pray that God will continue to bless America and that America will return to Biblical principles and moral values upon which our country was founded.


– Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at