Following the Union Army’s devastating loss at the Second Battle of Bull Run in August 1862, the Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks record Abraham Lincoln saying the following about prayer:
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
General George Washington’s legendary Prayer at Valley Forge is depicted in Arnold Friberg’s well-known painting below.
Prayer is vital and encouraged by great Americans throughout our history, both in victory and in defeat.
So, our prayer is that we would continue to offer our prayers and supplications to the Great Governor, the Almighty Author. Let “We the People” acknowledge His hand in guiding our country, as we observe our National Day of Prayer.
Our History, Our Heritage
“The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.”
Unfurl the history of the National Day of Prayer on the National Day of Prayer task force website: