Believers nationwide will together intercede in prayer May 5, marking the annual National Day of Prayer in public gatherings, small groups and independently, at a time when a crisis in Europe and other factors create uncertainty worldwide.
This year’s theme, “Exalt the Lord Who has Established Us,” is based on Colossians 2:6–7: “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
United in prayer
Kathy Branzell, president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, said thankfulness to God has sustained the United States in the past.
“Our praise of His unchanging attributes and remembrance of His blessings has helped Americans remain steadfast in faith even through the most challenging of times,” she encouraged. “Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we do not waver today in this practice of praise and expressions of faith, love and thanks as we unite in prayer across America on this National Day of Prayer.”
People in all 50 states traditionally gather at tens of thousands of local prayer events, and the annual broadcast, produced this year in collaboration with Pray.com and the Museum of the Bible, will air on television and radio as well as streaming on social media at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Joni Eareckson Tada, Skip Heitzig and Chip Ingram are scheduled to participate.
The most visible gathering historically has been at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., with members of each branch of government represented. According to the task force, examples of local gatherings have included prayer breakfasts, Bible reading marathons, concerts of prayer, rallies, church prayer vigils, student flagpole gatherings and observances in sports stadiums.
The National Day of Prayer website, nationaldayofprayer.org, provides a search engine to locate nearby events as well as several prayer guides to facilitate intercession for government, military, families, education, media and other facets of American life. Tools such as promotional videos and social media graphics also are available.
Congress established an annual day of prayer in 1952, and the National Day of Prayer was designated in 1988 as the first Thursday in May.
When President Truman made the National Day of Prayer an annual observance, he said, “In times of national crisis when we are striving to strengthen the foundations of peace … we stand in special need of Divine support.”
Every U.S. president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.
“It can be tempting to believe that America has reached a point of no return,” Franklin Graham, a former honorary chairman, said. “While these factors cause despair, we are reminded in Scripture that with God nothing is impossible. No problem is too great for Him. Seasons of distress and uncertainty and hardship call for faithful, fervent prayer.”