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Obama Designates May 5 as National Day of Prayer
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 07:38 PM
President Barack Obama has designated Thursday, May 5 as the 2016 National Day of Prayer, an annual tradition that dates back to the Truman administration.
“In times of steady calm and extraordinary change alike, Americans of all walks of life have long turned to prayer to seek refuge, demonstrate gratitude, and discover peace,” Obama said in a statement from the White House. “Sustaining us through great uncertainty and moments of sorrow, prayer allows us an outlet for introspection, and for expressing our hopes, desires, and fears. It offers strength in the face of hardship, and redemption when we falter. Our country was founded on the idea of religious freedom, and we have long upheld the belief that how we pray and whether we pray are matters reserved for an individual’s own conscience
Posted on August 12, 2015
There is power in prayer. We grew up in a praying home, we’ve attended praying churches, and we’ve seen God answer countless specific prayers over the years.
When we were in high school our father and a few trusted friends believed God was leading them to launch a new Christian school in our area. To get started, of course, they needed desks, books, and the right location. But with little money, what they needed more than anything was faith. And prayer.
During those early days of the school, we watched how God rapidly guided and provided. A local church agreed to house the school and allow their facilities to be remodeled for the purpose. A local business donated free lumber. A volunteer ministry team from Tennessee showed up to help with construction. Within weeks, new classrooms and offices were completed. Another school called and offered books, desks, and chairs.
The timing was unbelievable. Soon we had students sitting in new classrooms, with books in their hands and teachers in front of them. Our father went on to serve as headmaster for two decades, watching the Lord continue to provide what was needed year after year. In the fall of 2014, the school celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, having impacted thousands of students and families for Christ through the years.
We witnessed answered prayers like these all the time. In 2002, following in our father’s footsteps, we were privileged to launch a Christian movie ministry at our church with no money, no professional experience, and no film school training. But we knew God could provide what we needed. And with the support of our church, we laid every need before Him in prayer. We had to write the scripts, find the right actors, secure the right equipment, pull off the entire production, and then obtain distribution.
God provided everything we needed at every level. Each of the five movies we’ve been part of producing has resulted from a long string of specifically answered prayers. We know we would have failed otherwise.
In our office we’ve created a “Wall of Remembrance.” Numerous framed pictures serve as visual reminders of God’s provision, each representing a clearly answered prayer. Among them is a picture of Alex as a young college student with a dream to make movies for the Lord. Another features a two-year-old orphan in Nanjing, China, that God guided Stephen and his wife to adopt. One shows a forklift on a train track that just happened to be nearby one of our movie sets, sitting idle behind a man’s house, right when we needed it. One other picture is of three brothers with their arms around each other, smiling, taken years after our father had prayed we would all be working together someday. Each picture represents a story of God’s faithfulness in our lives. It’s overwhelming to see them all together.
Incredible provision. Unbelievable direction. Impossible odds. The list goes on.
We know prayer works.
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A Proclamation for the National Day of Prayer
When women and men of all backgrounds and beliefs are free to practice their faiths without fear or coercion, it bolsters our religious communities and helps to lift up diverse and vibrant societies throughout our world. In America, our Nation is stronger because we welcome and respect people of all faiths, and because we protect the fundamental right of all peoples to practice their faith how they choose, to change their faith, or to practice no faith at all, and to do so free from persecution and discrimination. Today, as we pause in solemn reflection, we celebrate the religious liberty we cherish here at home, and we recommit to standing up for religious freedom around the world.
For many of us, prayer is an important expression of faith — an essential act of worship and a daily discipline that allows reflection, provides guidance, and offers solace. Through prayer we find the strength to do God’s work: to feed the hungry, care for the poor, comfort the afflicted, and make peace where there is strife. In times of uncertainty or tragedy, Americans offer humble supplications for comfort for those who mourn, for healing for those who are sick, and for protection for those who are in harm’s way. When we pray, we are reminded that we are not alone — our hope is a common hope, our pain is shared, and we are all children of God.
Around the globe, too few know the protections we enjoy in America. Millions of individuals worldwide are subjected to discrimination, abuse, and sanctioned violence simply for exercising their religion or choosing not to claim a faith. Communities are threatened with genocide and driven from their homelands because of who they are or how they pray. The United States will continue to stand against these reprehensible attacks, work to end them, and protect religious freedom throughout the world. And we remember those who are prisoners of conscience — who are held unjustly because of their faiths or beliefs — and we will take every action within our power to secure their release.
In the face of tremendous challenges, prayer is a powerful force for peace, justice, and a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow. Today, as we join together in fellowship, we seek to see our own reflection in the struggle of others, to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and to keep faith — in one another, in the promise of our Nation, and in the Almighty.
The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a “National Day of Prayer.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 7, 2015, as a National Day of Prayer. I invite the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I join all people of faith in asking for God’s continued guidance, mercy, and protection as we seek a more just world.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
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Today is the National Day of Prayer, an annual day of observance celebrated by Americans of various faiths. Here are nine things you should know about the day when people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.”
1. 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. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.
2. Prior to the nation’s founding, the Second Continental Congress issued a proclamation recommending “a day of publick [sic] humiliation, fasting, and prayer” be observed by the “English Colonies” on Thursday, July 20, 1775, “and to bless our rightful sovereign, King George the Third…”
3. In his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, George Washingtonacknowledged a second day of “fasting, humiliation and prayer” proclaimed by the Continental Congress to be held on Thursday, May 6, 1779. To enable his soldiers to observe the day, Washington ordered a one-day cessation of recreation and “unnecessary labor”. In March 1780, Congress announced a day of “fasting, humiliation and prayer” to be held on Wednesday, April 26, 1780.
4. There have been 142 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President of the United States (1789-2013).
5. The National Observance in Washington, DC is coordinated by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, an evangelical nonprofit group. The NDP Task Force was founded in 1979 by Mrs. Vonette Bright, co-founder of the evangelical Christian organization Campus Crusade for Christ International. Since 1991, Shirley Dobson, whose husband is James Dobson, has been the chairwoman.
6. During each year of the George W. Bush Administration, events coordinated with the NDP Task Force were held in the White House. Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush each held only one NDP Task Force-coordinated religious ceremony on a National Day of Prayer during their tenures. During his tenure, President Clinton held informal prayer meetings but did not participate in NDP Task Force events, nor has President Obama.
7. In 2008, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued to challenge the designation of a National Day of Prayer. In 2010, a federal judge ruled that the statute establishing the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional as it is “an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function.” A three judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned that decision.
I have been asked to be the honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer for 2013.
Shirley Dobson, who has done such a wonderful job of overseeing this significant ministry to our country, called me and asked if I would take on this role and of course I agreed.
I am truly honored to serve in this capacity following in the footsteps of others who have done this in the past, including
Billy and Franklin Graham, David Jeremiah, and many others.
To find out more about the National Day of Prayer, go to
By Carol Madison
Prayer First Communications Director
As Nick Hall knelt down on the stage and pounded on it, he startled me. He called on the college and university students to get on their knees, put a stake in the ground, and give their lives to prayer for revival and spiritual awakening on their campuses.
I was startled because I had crawled under the stage to pray for Nick while he preached to a few thousand students at the University of Minnesota UNITE prayer gathering. When he pounded several times on the stage, I had thoughts of it collapsing on top of me! But at the same time, I was blessed and overwhelmed to hear the students respond by crying out to God for that spiritual awakening to begin.
Bethel and Prayer First Involvement
Prayer First and Bethel University were key partners in the UNITE event on the National Day of Prayer. It was a unique prayer gathering led by students, supported by older generations, and embraced by all denominations.
In some ways the vision actually originated with conversations between the Prayer First team and Ralph Gustafson of Bethel University over dinner one night at the Converge Biennial in Denver in 2010. There was a desire expressed to host some kind of prayer gathering or conference on the Bethel campus as a way to connect the prayer movement more closely with students.
The vision began to grow with those of similar hearts. The Prayer First and Bethel representation joined with leadership from Global Day of Prayer MN, Pulse Ministries, and Praise FM radio in the Twin Cities to launch a planning team. Soon other Christian colleges and campus ministries at the U of M joined in calling students and adults to prayer. As a result, some 2,500 people joined in prayer and worship on May 5 at the U of M Mariucci Hockey Arena.
Bethel University brought several busloads of students, initiated by Donna Johnson of the Pray First campus ministry. The Converge Prayer First team members were strategically involved in the planning of the event, and also took responsibility for on-site intercession for the students. Bob Bakke (Hillside Church of Bloomington, MN and GDOP MN), Nick Hall (Pulse Ministries), and Fern Nichols (Moms In Touch Intl.) joined forces to lead the prayer gathering in a generational representation.
From Generation to Generation
Fern Nichols mobilized 10,000 Moms In Touch groups to pray for the event. She summed up the hearts of moms around the country when she said, “I love you. Thousands of moms love you. We are counting on you, this next generation, for Jesus’ sake and for the Kingdom of God!”
Nick Hall responded (to the roar of the students’ approval): “God’s Word says one generation will commend God’s works to another. Tonight is not about asking the adults to pass some baton to us. It isn’t about saying we don’t need you anymore. This is about us as young people standing and saying, ‘Older generations, we need your help, your prayers, encouragement, wisdom, and guidance in our lives.’ We link our hearts together and pray for a multigenerational partnership in the gospel!”
It was a powerful evening of prayer and worship. Some measurable results include:
- More than 300 students indicated commitments to Christ.
- Some 1,400 students signed response cards, indicating desire for future involvement in the prayer movement.
- Throughout the nation, more than 1,500 people participated through streaming on the Internet
- More than 100 student leaders participated in a follow-up meeting to begin planning for initiatives on their campuses in the fall.
As Dr. Bakke summarized the evening, “God was powerfully at work in our midst! But even more was accomplished according to the heart and dreams of Christ for spiritual awakening throughout the earth.”
Please be especially in prayer for a work of revival and spiritual awakening at Bethel University this fall. There was significant movement in the past year (a 40-day prayer tent, etc.), but keep seeking the Lord for an even greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit on this campus – and on other campuses across our nation!
…For a wonderful time of prayer and worship at West Hills Church in Omaha, NE this evening.
It was the annual city wide prayer gathering on the National Day of Prayer.
May the Lord send revival to Omaha!!
It is the annual National Day of Prayer.
Let us pray for sweeping revival in our nation!