Today, May 2nd, is National Day of Prayer. Held on the first Thursday of May and established in 1952 by a joint resolution of both houses of the United States Congress, the day was conceived as a day when all faith traditions could unite in prayer in and for America. The first call to a national day of prayer actually occurred in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to assist the Congress in forming the young nation by offering prayers. In 1808, Thomas Jefferson said “Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it.”
It is fitting for Hope Lutheran Church to celebrate this special day of prayer just a few days after hosting an interfaith prayer vigil remembering worldwide violence and offering prayers for peace in response. Although the subject of our prayer was different than that of our National Day of Prayer, the fact that we can unite with our brothers and sisters of all faiths and join hands in prayer remains the same. Our forbears who established this country recognized the power and importance of prayer, and we honor their vision and legacy by celebrating this day.
“Lord God, we join with all people of faith this day in prayer for our country. May our elected officials and citizens join hands in thanksgiving, work for peace and justice, and recognize the constant grace of Your Presence in our lives each and every day. Help us use our precious freedoms to share the good news of Your love to all people. Amen.”