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May 4th was the “National Day of Prayer,” and President Joe Biden released his proclamation of the day, highlighting the role prayer has taken in American life. “In periods of peace and prosperity and in times of struggle and strife, countless Americans turn to prayer to seek guidance, bolster our faith, and brace our spirits when we need it most. Prayer is both a personal and communal act…” the President stated. He also affirmed the Constitution’s protection of prayer, stating, “The right to pray is enshrined in our Constitution and stamped firmly in the American tradition.” He further added that “The belief that prayer can move mountains is, at its core, a belief in making the impossible possible.” Statistics on American prayer agree on the commonality of its practice, with one poll in 2020 showing that 76 percent of Americans pray at least once a month, while only 22 percent never pray. 

Fox News Digital interviewed several faith leaders about prayer, with many expressing a sense of need for it in the US. Jim Daly, CEO of Focus on the Family, said, “In these tenuous and trying times, the very best thing we can do is to bring our cares and concerns to God in prayer. No matter how noisy the news is, He is listening. He understands. Prayer is a lightning rod, a live wire. It allows us to communicate and connect with the one person who has the power to soothe every sorrow, heal every wound, dry every tear and restore every loss. Prayer is not passive. It’s the best action we can take.” Patti Garibay, founder and national executive director of American Heritage Girls, a Christian alternative to the Girl Scouts, honored the National Day of Prayer, saying it “…is an integral part of millions of citizens’ annual observances.” She added that “it is still relevant today.” “From the Founding Fathers fasting and praying during the Second Continental Congress to the intentional observance by ethical and moral leaders of today, America needs this collective pause to give thanks to the creator while praying for the leaders of church, government, business, education, military, media and family to follow in his ways,” she said.

The National Day of Prayer was established in 1952 after a proclamation by President Harry S. Truman. At that time, it was celebrated on July 4th. Leaders like Billy Graham had urged for an official day of prayer, with Graham leading services for around 20,000 people on the steps of the Capitol in February of 1952. President Ronald Reagan later moved it to the first Thursday in May, when it continues to be honored.      

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