National Day of Prayer is an annual observance day which is observed on the first Thursday in the month of May. On this day, Americans are encouraged to give thanks and to turn to God in prayer and peaceful meditation. It is a day that has been traditionally controversial because some people believe that it is a violation of the Constitution’s separation of church and state. In fact, it faced a court challenge in 2011 from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, but that challenge was unsuccessful.
History of National Day Of Prayer
The first National Day of Prayer can be traced back to 1775 when the Continental Congress allocated a daily prayer while they were forming the new nation. From that time on, various Presidents have asked for citizens to pray in cases of national emergency or tragedy. However, it wasn’t until April 17th, 1952 that National Day of Prayer was passed by Congress and was signed into law by President Harry Truman. In 1988, President Reagan signed an amendment to the law that designated the first Thursday of May as the National Day of Prayer. In 1972, the National Prayer Committee was formed in the U.S. This committee would go on to create the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a task force with the intended purpose of coordinating events for this observance day.
National Day of Prayer Customs & Traditions
People observe this holiday by taking the time out of the day to visit the church of their choice or to pray to the deity of their choice. Each year, almost 40,000 prayer gathering are held all over the United States. Which means that millions of people all across the country take advantage of the day to pray. On this day, the President will often give a speech and many people will attend religious events such as choirs, concerts, and even prayer luncheons.
When is National Day of Prayer?
|This year (2018)||May 3 (Thursday)||Multiple dates - more|
|Next year (2019)||May 2 (Thursday)||Multiple dates - more|
|Last year (2017)||May 4 (Thursday)||Multiple dates - more|