Letter: National Day of Prayer is todayOn May 6, 2010, this nation will recognize the 59th annual day of Prayer. We will be observing it locally at our City Hall (303 Ninth St.) from 12:10-12:50 p.m. A bit of background and a few facts on the National Day of Prayer might be of interest as we observe this day.
By: The Rev. LeRoy G. Christoffels, Pastor, Worthington Christian Reformed Church, Worthington Daily Globe
On May 6, 2010, this nation will recognize the 59th annual day of Prayer. We will be observing it locally at our City Hall (303 Ninth St.) from 12:10-12:50 p.m. A bit of background and a few facts on the National Day of Prayer might be of interest as we observe this day.
In 1776 the Continental Congress called for prayer, and each step of developing a constitution and a new nation was preceded by prayer. When the Constitutional Convention was at a roadblock in 1787, Benjamin Franklin made a special request for prayer saying, “…I see this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? …I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessing on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning….” (Christian Defense Fund, “One Nation Under God,” 1997, p. 22-24).
Although national days of prayer had long been a part of our history, for many years the U.S. President would declare the observance to be on a day of his choosing. In 1952 President Harry Truman signed a joint resolution of Congress establishing an annual day of prayer. In 1988 President Ronald Reagan and Congress amended the law to designate the first Thursday of every May to be an annual observance. Each year the President signs a proclamation encouraging all Americans to pray, and state governors do so as well. President Obama has made such a proclamation this year calling upon the citizens of our nation to pray for their country.
A volunteer coordinator network organizes local, state and federal observances throughout the nation, and the Worthington Area Christian Ministers (WACMA) do so here in Worthington. Observances begin at sunrise in Maine and continue through the day until sunset in Hawaii. There is unity through a theme, scripture and artwork which is developed by the NDP Task Force, but individuals are free to observe the day in their own prayer style. Shirley Dobson, wife of Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family has been the Task Force chairman since early 1990’s. She has volunteered her time as a citizen along with thousands of volunteers across the nation. The NDP Task force is completely separate from Focus on the Family.
I hope you will join us for our local observance of National Day of Prayer at city Hall on May 6 under the theme, “For Such a Time as This” based on Nahum 1:7 — “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.”