GUEST OP: Auburn to observe 60th National Day of Prayer
May 2, 2011 · 4:14 PM
What began in 1775 will once more be celebrated in the new City Hall Plaza from noon-1 p.m. Thursday, May 5, when believers throughout Auburn will gather to pray for our country, our civil servants, and our elected officials.
Pastors from several Auburn churches will lead in public prayer.
"A Mighty Fortress is Our God," is the theme for this 60th Annual Day of Prayer.
"In these uncertain times, we need the encouragement of these words from Psalm 91," said Marge Gordon, Auburn coordinator.
Although the National Day of Prayer is not a government-sponsored event, the history of our government calling for its citizens to pray is rich and consistent.
In 1775, less than two months after "the shot heard 'round the world" was fired and a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Continental Congress issued a call to Christians of all denominations to fast and pray and confess their sins that the Lord might bless the land.
Other congressional calls to prayers followed. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a formal proclamation, passed by Congress, initiating the first annual National Day of Thanksgiving, appealing to citizens in every part of the United States to join in prayer. There have been 136 national calls to prayer by presidents between 1789 and 2010.
In 1952, Public Law 82-324 was passed that called for the President to set aside an appropriate day each year as a National Day of Prayer. In 1988, the 100th Congress, in a joint resolution, amended the law and designated this day as the first Thursday of each May.
Each year the President signs a proclamation urging all Americans to pray on this day, and the governors of all 50 states and several territories sign similar proclamations. Last years' estimates of attendance included 30,000 observances with over 2,000,000 attendees.
Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis' Proclamation urges all citizens to join in "prayer full of hope and reflection, sorrow and fear, remorse and renewed resolve, thanks and joyful praise in the special observance.