Four Hundred men had just been lost in the first major battle of a war. Every representative was arguing for the general of their state’s militia to be appointed commander-in-chief, so as a compromise, a Colonel by the name of George Washington has just been tasked with the responsibility to build an army. A Declaration of Causes has just been sent to the government detailing their abuses of power, and reasons why we must defend our freedoms. The Olive Branch Petition, requesting that the King consider a non-military resolution to the conflict, remains un-opened by the crown. It is within this setting that on July 20, 1775 the Second Continental Congress convened the first National Day of Prayer.
The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual, national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.
A portion from the first congressional proclamation in 1775 states:
“That virtue and true religion may revive and flourish throughout our land; And that all America may soon behold a gracious interposition of Heaven, for the redress of her many grievances, the restoration of her invaded rights, a reconciliation with the parent state, on terms constitutional and honorable to both; and that her civil and religious privileges may be secured to the latest posterity”
We are currently “the latest posterity” to which our Founding Fathers refer. It is now our time, and responsibility to continue the important work of praying for our nation, our state, our community and our leaders. Please join us in praying for our nation on Friday, July 20, 2012.