“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV).
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness”…. and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.
President Truman signed a joint resolution of Congress in 1952 declaring an annual National Day of Prayer, which was amended by President Reagan in 1988 to designate the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer. Because of the legislation passed by Congress in 1952, every year the president issues a proclamation encouraging Americans to pray on this day. Our federal government is asking us to pray for our nation.
For 55 years, the city where I was born and served as a city commissioner hosted the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast to recognize the National Day of Prayer and pray for our nation. I attended the last Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Fort Lauderdale hosted in 2017. The LGBTQ community protested the prayer breakfast because Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, was the keynote speaker. Focus on the Family believes what the Bible teaches about marriage—that marriage is between a man and a woman. In 2017, the Fort Lauderdale Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast was canceled and silenced. This was the beginning of the cultural battle I fought over the next five years, while I served as a city commissioner. The battle rages on.
If you want to understand the spiritual direction of our country, read the National Day of Prayer proclamations issued by our presidents each year. Let’s look at the last president and the current president: President Trump and President Biden.
On this National Day of Prayer, Americans reaffirm that prayer guides and strengthens our Nation, and we express, with humility and gratitude, our “firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.” As one Nation under God, we share a legacy of faith that sustains and inspires us and a heritage of religious liberty. Today, we join together and lift up our hearts, remembering the words of 1 John 5:14 that tell us when “we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” From our earliest days, our dependence upon God has brought us to seek His divine counsel and unfailing wisdom. Our leaders have often encouraged their fellow citizens to seek wisdom from God and have recognized God’s power to lead our Nation ahead to brighter days.
President Trump asks Americans to humbly pray for our nation, points us to God’s word found in 1 John 5:14, and reminds us of our Christian heritage depending on God.
Throughout our history, Americans of many religions and belief systems have turned to prayer for strength, hope, and guidance.
One year and one president later, we go from praying to God for strength and protection to praying to your own belief system instead of God. Nowhere is scripture quoted in President Biden’s 2021 proclamation. This is significant and can’t simply be glossed over. The worldview shifts from God’s divine guidance to your personal guidance. This is the secular worldview where one defines his or her own right or wrong; God does not have a role in secularism. The policies that have followed the current administration stem from this worldview.
It’s time for Christians to pray for our nation and proclaim God’s truth found in God’s Word: the Bible, the truth that shaped our country and the truth that our founding fathers relied on when they met during the 1787 Constitutional Convention. We cannot allow public proclamations of prayer to be canceled, silenced, or secularized. The Christian community must mobilize to humbly pray to God for our nation, and must fight for our civil liberties and religious liberties before they disappear.
1. George Washington, “Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives, October 3, 1789, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-04-02-0091. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 4, 8 September 1789 – 15 January 1790, ed. Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993, pp. 131–132.]
2. Donald Trump, “Proclamation on National Day of Prayer, 2020,” Trump White House Archives, May 6, 2020, https://trumpwhitehouse.archives.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-national-day-prayer-2020/
3. Joe Biden, “A Proclamation on National Day Of Prayer,” The White House, May 5, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/05/05/a-proclamation-on-national-day-of-prayer/