The Who, What, When, Where, and Why of National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer 2019 is this week. It is a wonderful time to look forward to annually, considering the value of prayer and the fact that the Bible teaches us always to pray (1 Thessalonian 5:17; Luke 21:36; Luke 18:1). Below is the who, what, when, where, and why of the National Day of Prayer.


 The Who of National Day of Prayer

In a joint resolution, the Congress and President Harry S. Truman signed the National Day of Prayer into law in 1952. All presidents in office have signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation since that time. People of all faiths in the U.S. are invited to join in.


What is the Theme of National Day of Prayer 2019?

Each year, the National Day of Prayer has a theme. John 13:34 is the Bible scripture behind this year's theme, which is “Love One Another.” In the verse, it says:

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”


When is the National Day of Prayer?

President Ronald Reagan signed an amendment supported by the House and Senate in 1988. The amendment designated the first Thursday of the fifth month as a day of national prayer. In 2019, May 2nd is National Day of Prayer. The times of community gatherings are up to local groups.


Where is the National Day of Prayer Observed?

About 40,000 prayer gatherings in the U.S. are held in annual observance of the National Day of Prayer. You should be able to find information about an event in your area by doing a Google search on “National Day of Prayer (your city, state).” There are often events at government facilities, but mostly churches in many communities organize prayer gatherings. Katy, Texas, made Houston news this year because more than 50 churches and organizations in the Katy area have joined together to sponsor 50 hours (three days) of nonstop prayer to follow Katy’s National Day of Prayer event.


Why is there a National Day of Prayer?

Harry S. Truman was Vice-President of the United States, but President Franklin D. Roosevelt died suddenly. A few hours later, on April 2, 1945, Truman was sworn in as the 33rd U.S. president. The following day, a mob of reporters greeted him as he was leaving his home to begin his first full day as president. The man who began the tradition of a National Day of Prayer turned to the reporters and said, “Well, boys, if you ever pray, pray for me.” He was a man who understood that prayer is powerful.

Probably the best thing that could happen on this annual day of prayer is for individuals, spiritual leaders, and churches in the U.S. to, essentially, gather in unity in praying 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (ESV)


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