National Day of Prayer

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A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper He amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in whom I trust. Psalm 91:2

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President Washington declared a National Day of Prayer after the Whiskey Rebellion, as did President John Adams when France threatened war; and President Madison during the War of 1812.

President Tyler declared a Day of Prayer when President Harrison died; as did President Taylor during a cholera epidemic.

President Buchanan proclaimed a Day of Prayer to avert civil strife,

In 1863, Lincoln stated in his National Day of Prayer Proclamation:

"The awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins…

We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

When Lincoln was shot, President Andrew Johnson proclaimed a Day of Prayer.

President Wilson in 1918 proclaimed a Day of Prayer when the United States entered World War I:

"Whereas…in a time of war humbly…to acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God and to implore His aid…I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim…a day of public humiliation, prayer and fasting, and do exhort my fellow-citizens…to pray Almighty God that He may forgive our sins."

On December 21, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated:

"I have set aside a Day of Prayer, and in that Proclamation I have said: ‘The year 1941 has brought upon our Nation a war of aggression by powers dominated by arrogant rulers whose selfish purpose is to destroy free institutions….Therefore, I…do hereby appoint the first day of the year 1942 as a Day of Prayer, of asking forgiveness for our shortcomings of the past, of consecration to the tasks of the present, of asking God’s help in days to come.’"

In 1952, President Truman made the National Day of Prayer an annual event, stating:

"In times of national crisis when we are striving to strengthen the foundations of peace…we stand in special need of Divine support."

President Nixon had a National Day of Prayer when Apollo 13 was lost in space.

President Reagan made it the first Thursday in May, saying:

"Americans in every generation have turned to their Maker in prayer…We have acknowledged both our dependence on Almighty God and the help He offers us as individuals and as a Nation…Now,

Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States…do…proclaim MAY 5, 1988, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon the citizens of our great Nation to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray."

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Ronald Reagan Tribute – Bel Air Presbyterian Church:

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