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« on: May 05, 2005, 04:09:45 PM »

American Citizens Called to Join in National Day of Prayer

by Mary Rettig and Allie Martin
May 5, 2005

(AgapePress) - President George W. Bush has proclaimed May 5, 2005, as a National Day of Prayer and asked U.S. citizens to join in observing the event with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. And according to National Day of Prayer chairwoman Shirley Dobson, Americans have a lot to pray about this year.

This year's theme, Dobson notes, is a line from the song "America the Beautiful -- namely, "It's 'God shed His grace on thee,'" and she feels it reflects upon how God has blessed the nation. The NDP chairwoman observes, "Our heavenly Father continues, even though in many ways our country has turned our back on Him by stripping our spiritual freedoms out of the public square, to shed His grace on us with peace and prosperity. So we need to humbly come before Him and repent and thank Him for that."

The wife of well-known Christian broadcaster, author, and activist Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family says the state of American culture is a particularly serious case for prayer. "The definition of marriage is still being debated," she points out, "and we need to be praying that marriage as God designed it will be preserved in our country. And after the Terri Schiavo situation, it seems like life has just become relative; we need to really pray that life will continue to be precious and valued in this land."

Dobson says Americans should also pray for the stabilization of Iraq and that democracy would take hold there, so U.S. troops can come home. And, she adds, U.S. citizens should never forget to pray for their country's leaders, as well as for international peace and freedom.

Presidential Support for Prayer
The National Day of Prayer was established by Congress in 1952 and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman; and the occasion continues to be an important one to leaders in the nation's capital. As NDP observances take place around the country, Washington, DC, is marking the day with a special event at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- a ceremony held in the East Room of the White House this morning.

Tim Goeglein, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, notes that President and Mrs. Bush strongly support the National Day of Prayer. "The President and First Lady believe that it is extremely important at least once a year formally, and otherwise as often as possible, to give thanks to God for all of the blessings that he has offered to our nation," he says.

Recently, in a proclamation announcing the observance, President Bush explained the impetus behind the NDP, noting that Congress, by Public Law 100-307 (as amended) had "called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the freedom of religion by recognizing annually a National Day of Prayer." In his declaration, he described the NDP as a national acknowledgement of "our reliance on the Almighty," an expression of "gratitude for His blessings," and a petition for "His guidance in our daily lives."

Bush went on to give examples of the prevalence of prayer in America's history and heritage, pointing out that such patriot leaders as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt prayed or exhorted the nation to pray publicly, especially in times of national crisis. The Commander in Chief also noted that, just as Roosevelt led U.S. citizens in prayer over the radio during World War II, asking God to protect America's sons in battle, the nation today prays "for those who serve bravely in the United States Armed Forces in difficult missions around the world," as well as for their families.

In proclaiming May 5 as this year's National Day of Prayer, President Bush invited all Americans to "give thanks, each according to his or her own faith," for the liberty and blessings they have received and for God's continued guidance and protection.
Mary Rettig and Allie Martin, regular contributors to AgapePress, are reporters for American Family Radio News, which can be heard online.


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