WASHINGTON (BP)--Tens of thousands of people gathered throughout the United States May 6 to observe the National Day of Prayer, an annual event buffeted by an adverse court ruling this year.
"Prayer is the most powerful resource we have in this life; yet, many only turn to it as a last resort," Franklin Graham, honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, wrote in a statement urging the nation to pray.
"When unbelievers pray for repentance of sin and ask for God's forgiveness, prayer is the spiritual dynamite that obliterates the darkness and despair of a sin-soaked soul," Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, wrote. "For those who have already experienced the grace of Almighty God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, prayer becomes the catalyst for fellowship with the Lord of our souls, redeemed by His blood.
"By tapping into the channel by which we commune with the One who calls His children 'friends,' we can receive His strength in our weakness; His guidance in our steps; and His mercy when we stumble along life's path."
President Obama issued a proclamation April 30 inviting Americans to give thanks, days after a federal judge ruled that a statute setting a day for the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional, amounting to a governmental call for religious action.
"On this day, let us give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed upon our nation," the president said. "Let us rejoice for the blessing of freedom both to believe and to live our beliefs, and for the many other freedoms and opportunities that bring us together as one nation. Let us ask for wisdom, compassion, and discernment of justice as we address the great challenges of our time."
Obama suggested prayer for those suffering from natural disasters in Haiti, Chile and elsewhere; the families of the West Virginia coal miners who died in April; members of the Armed Forces and their families; and the "unsung heroes" who struggle to build their communities and raise their families.
"I call upon the citizens of our nation to pray, or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God's continued guidance, grace and protection as we meet the challenges before us," Obama said.
The White House decided to appeal the federal judge's opinion, giving supporters hope that the day may continue to receive the support of the nation's highest elected official. Read More