National Day of Prayer
National Day of Prayer is observed next on Thursday, May 2nd, 2024 (147 days from today).
National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of May every year calls all people of different religions in the United States to pray for the nation and its leaders.
It is no news that faith is an important part of American culture. It is a diverse country with people of different ethnicities with many different beliefs. Americans are certainly no strangers to the faith and so it was no surprise that they decided to create a day themed all about this religious diversity.
History of National Day of Prayer
In 1775, the Continental Congress set aside time for prayer in the founding of a new nation. Over the years, a day of prayer is very necessary; President Abraham Lincoln had also called in 1863. On April 17th, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill that aims to inform the establishment of National Day of Prayer in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as a National Day of Prayer.
The National Prayer Commission was established in the United States in 1972. It further established the National Day of Prayer Task Force, with the purpose of coordinating events for the National Day of Prayer. According to the Legal Information Institute, every year, the President issues a proclamation designating the first Thursday of May as a National Day of Prayer, during which the American people can turn to God in prayer and meditate at churches, in groups, and as individuals.
Throughout our history, there are a few day separating for national prayer. In fact, there are only a few notable ones between the years 1700 - 1900. The National Day of Prayer as we know it today was established in 1952, and it was a co-founded effort between the United States Congress and President Harry S. Truman.
The holiday was signed into law by President Truman, and every president since has signed a proclamation encouraging Americans to pray and celebrate the day. The national holiday has always been the first Thursday of May every year since the nation was founded in 1952. It is the day that continued the decision-making of the country's founders, using ethical principles from bible lessons in difficult situations. Basically, use God's guidance to make important decisions for the country and for yourself. Just like Thanksgiving and Christmas, National Day of Prayer is recognized by Americans nationally, and it is even recognized and celebrated in all Hallmark calendars.
Given that the Americas were founded by people of European descent with predominantly Christianity, it's no surprise that this holiday was originally created to celebrate the Christian faith. National Day of Prayer is an effort to ask Americans to "turn to God in prayer and meditation."
According to the National Day of Prayer website, each individual needs to take time for personal repentance and prayer and to mobilize the Christian community. However, there is no law that says National Day of Prayer cannot be celebrated by all cultures, creeds, and religions, and as America grows into a multicultural nation, this holiday organized by more than just people in the Christian community.
Some facts about National Day of Prayer
- There have been more than 140 days of national prayer
Since the 1700s, America has called on the President to hold more than 140 days of prayer, incarnation, fasting, and thanksgiving.
- Christians represent 73.7% of the U.S. religious population
This includes Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and other faiths under the auspices of Christianity.
- Islam is the fastest growing religion
However, one projection of religion by 2050 suggests that the global Muslim population is expected to grow at a faster rate.
- About 45% of Americans pray every day
Similarly, 31% pray more than once per day and 65% pray about once a month.
- 21% of Americans pray to win the lottery
There will be a lot of lottery winners if their prayers are answered!
Some reasons for National Day of Prayer being loved
- It makes you some time to relax
Even if you're a non-believer, it's still good to take time out of your life to meditate and reflect, and that's part of the reason why this day was created. Today, we live so busy lives that we often forget to take some time for ourselves to think about and appreciate all that we have.
- It gives a piece of your cultural history
It is likely that your parents or grandparents had some sort of belief or religion that they practiced. Having a national day of prayer helps people take a moment to remember how their families were raised and reflect on their cultural and family history.
- It presents a lot of history about Christianity in America
National Day of Prayer has a long history - dating back to 1700! Although the National Day of Prayer as we know it today was created in the mid-1900s, it is interesting to see how Christianity and religion have evolved over time in the United States.
How to celebrate National Day of Prayer
- Take a moment to pray
Since this day is designed for people to spend time truly praying, the best way you can celebrate is by doing so. Regardless of what faith you believe in, take a moment to celebrate, reflect on it, say or think of some message you'd like to send to your god(s), and ack.
- Research some interesting facts about the history of your faith
Research some interesting facts about the history of your beliefs Religion goes backwards - I mean this way, this way back. Even in ancient civilizations there was some kind of belief system. Whether you realize it or not, your religion may have elements from ancient beliefs. Take the time to hone your religious knowledge; you will definitely learn something interesting.
- Donate money or volunteer to your local house of faith
Whether you celebrate a form of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other kind of religion, there will always be a house of worship or prayer nearby. Whether or not you practice your faith in building community, there's nothing stopping you from donating money or volunteering your time to help. Maybe you'll learn something new about your faith and meet other people in your community!
ObservedNational Day of Prayer has been observed the first Thursday in May.
Thursday, May 5th, 2022
Thursday, May 4th, 2023
Thursday, May 2nd, 2024
Thursday, May 1st, 2025
Thursday, May 7th, 2026
United States Congress in 1952