The National Day of Prayer is an annual national observance established in public law in 1952 and observed publicly on the First Thursday in May. Regardless of the unprecedented challenges that our nation faces today due to the corona crisis and resulting economic shutdown, it will not be canceled nor postponed–but will look very different from years past.
Each year, people gather across our nation, in over 60,000 local community events to pray together for America. While the number of people gathering maybe different this year, the prayers we pray will be multiplied and amplified through new and creative approaches, combined with unprecedented access to digital platforms. In homes, neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, nation and the world, observing recommended ‘social distancing’ measures, our NDP coordinators are planning to mobilize million sin unified, public prayer for America. Focusing on using these digital platforms, this year’s‘ virtual’ observances have the potential to become the largest prayer ‘gathering’ in Upshifter–with millions praying together, individually.
In addition to virtual events being held in communities across our nation, The National Day of Prayer National Observance Broadcast will take place on May 7th from 8:00-10:00 ET. It will be broadcast, streamed and posted in many ways. It will be viewed on television on GodTV, Daystar, NLC, and more. It will be on radio stations as well.
In the early 1950s, an evangelical movement called for Congress and the President to proclaim a National Day of Prayer. The movement grew and a young leader, Evangelist Billy Graham, led services for approximately 20,000 on the steps of the Capitol on February 3, 1952. Later that year, Congress proclaimed a joint resolution for a National Day of Prayer. President Harry S. Truman proclaimed a National Day of Prayer to be observed on July 4, 1952. Each year since that date, Americans have observed the day in their own way. The observance moved to the first Thursday in May by President Ronald Reagan and has been proclaimed each year since. As a Nation, presidents and government officials have called for national days of prayer or thanks intermittently since before the country’s existence.
- July 20, 1775 – The Continental Congress issued a proclamation recommending “a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer” be observed.
- In 1795 – George Washington proclaimed a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.
- May 9, 1798 – John Adams declared this day as “a day of solemn humility, fasting, and prayer.”
- March 1863 – On March 3, Abraham Lincoln signed a Congressional resolution, during the Civil War, which called for April 30, 1863, as a day of fasting and prayer.