Last month there were rumors the National Day of Prayer 2010 was canceled. While that is not true, there is still controversy surrounding the National Day of Prayer on May 6, 2010. Despite that fact, ceremonies in honor of the 59th Observance of National Prayer Day will take place in Washington DC today from 9 AM to 12 PM.
A marathon bible reading started on Wednesday in Washington DC in observance of National Prayer Day. In 1952, President Harry Truman signed National Prayer Day into law. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan amended the law to observe National Prayer Day on the first Thursday in May.
One controversial event surrounding the National Day of Prayer 2010 is the Army decision to revoke an invitation to Franklin Graham, honorary chairman of the 2010 National Day of Prayer Task Force. Graham intends to stand outside the Pentagon anyway.
Fox Newsreports Graham stated, “I don’t have to be invited to a prayer service to pray for the men and women who serve this nation, who I’m so proud (of). I want them to know that I support them.”
The larger controversy surrounding the National Day of Prayer is a lawsuit challenging the event. Obama’s Justice Department is appealing the ruling of a federal judge that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb expected her ruling would be challenged. The U.S. Department of Justice filed to appeal the ruling on April 22, 2010.
Last Friday, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation. “Prayer has been a sustaining way for many Americans of diverse faiths to express their most cherished beliefs, and thus we have long deemed it fitting and proper to publicly recognize the important of prayer on this day across the Nation.”
Freedom from Religious Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin brought the lawsuit challenging the National Day of Prayer. Freedom from Religious Foundation is a group of agnostics and atheists. The lawsuit was originally filed against the George W. Bush administration, arguing the National Day of Prayer violates separation of church and state.
Despite the revocation of his invitation to the National Day of Prayer 2010, Graham is pleased the Justice Department is appealing the ruling. Meanwhile, 36 House members sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates asking him to reconsider the revocation of Graham’s invite.
Chairman of the House Republican Conference Rep. Mike Pence commented, “Not everyone will agree with all that Rev. Graham has to say. But we can agree that our Constitution protects his right to say what he believes.”
Visit the official website of the task force for the National Day of Prayer to see the airing the 59th Observance of the National Day of Prayer. There are a variety of interesting links at the National Day of Prayer task force website, which opens with the line “Prayer for a time such as this.”
The Bible quote at the top of the National Day of Prayertask force website is:
“The Lord is a good refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.”
Another interesting link to explore is “Why Pray?” It opens as follows and gets more interesting as you continue to read:
“Prayer has always been used in this country for guidance, protection and strength-even before we were a nation or a handful of colonies. The Pilgrims at Plymouth relied on prayer during their first and darkest winter. Our founding fathers also called for prayer during the Constitutional Congress. In their eyes, our recently created nation and freedoms were a direct gift from God. And being a gift from God, there was only one way to insure protection-through prayer.”
I am pleased about President Obama’s proclamation and the ongoing observance of the National Day of Prayer. As one nation under God, we are indivisible. We have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. As a free nation, those who don’t wish to observe the National Day of Prayer are not required to.
“Let us lift up our heart with [our] hands unto God in the heavens.”
Have a beautiful, blessed National Day of Prayer 2010! Here is YouTube video from the National Day of Prayer 2009: