Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

April 30, 2012

What is a National Day of Prayer?

Dr. Michael Layne
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. - Psalm 33: 12

1998 Pub. L. 105-225, Aug. 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1258: The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.

The history of a national time of prayer can be traced back to 1775 when the Continental Army asked the Colonies to pray for the conflict. During times of war much has been said about prayer. We sense a need for Divine intervention in times of crisis.

Most of us will remember the terrorism of 9/11 in 2001 just a short 11 years ago. It was an eerie time. All aircraft were grounded for a few days and when looking skyward there were no contrails from the high flying jet aircraft. A very unusual time in our current history.

The episode of 9/11 called many of us to prayer. The Christian community became aware of the need to ask for God's intervention regardless our denominational leaning.

The National Day of Prayer was signed into Public Law by President Truman and in 1988 President Reagan signed a revision of that law to set aside a specific date each year and the current sitting President is so ordered to sign an annual proclamation about the National Day of Prayer.

This is the 61st year of the National Day of Prayer and I hope every American will take this opportunity to attend a prayer event in their respective communities. It is this freedom we have in America to assemble and we are able to do so for a positive effort and that is to ask God to bless and protect.

Regardless the mind set of those who say differently, I still say this is a Christian nation. We have the freedom to worship God as we choose. In those countries where Christianity is not prevalent, one cannot have such gatherings as we will experience this Thursday and, any other time we have a public religious gathering, whether in our churches or other venue.

We are governed by a Democracy. Let's live as though we are a democratic society and not give into the ideology that we should be apologetic for being a prosperous, free nation. Let us proudly display the flag of the United States of America and let us rally together for public prayer. As Christians let us stand up to the mindset that would depress our freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.

I hope to see you this Thursday at the Decatur County Courthouse at the gazebo.

(Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church, author and can be reached at 662-5154 or at