National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer Quick Facts - US

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2024 DateMay 2, 2024
2025 DateMay 1, 2025

National Day of Prayer

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National Day of Prayer History

National Day of Prayer is an annual holiday that serves to encourage Americans to pray, meditate and repent. It is also used to draw awareness to prayer and religious beliefs.

The origins of National Day of Prayer date back to 1787 when Benjamin Franklin asked President George Washington to open each day with prayer and to realize that prayer is deeply intertwined in the fabric of the United States. It was not until February 1952 however, that Reverend Billy Graham petitioned support of Representative Percy Priest to observe a national day of prayer. On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming National Day of Prayer, to encourage Americans to turn to God in prayer and meditation. National Prayer Day is celebrated every year on the first Thursday of May.

Facts & quotes about National Day of Prayer

  • The theme for National Day of Prayer in 2024 was Faithfulness.
    In 2023, the theme was Pray Fervently In Righteousness And Avail Much.
  • Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart - Mahatma Gandhi, Civil Rights and Freedom Activist
  • The Pew Research estimates that by 2070, the number of U.S. adults who identify as Christian could drop below 50%. In 2022, 63% of Americans identify as Christian.
  • According to PropertyShark, Indianapolis is ranked number one for the city with most churches. There are nearly 2,900 churches which equals one church for every 289 people that live in the city.
  • Across our diverse and cherished beliefs, on this National Day of Prayer, no matter how or whether we pray, we are all called to look outside ourselves. Let us find in our hearts and prayers the determination to put aside our differences, come together, and truly see one another as fellow Americans - U.S. President Joseph R. Biden JR., Presidential Proclamation on the National Day of Prayer, 2022
  • On October 3, 2008, The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sued President George W. Bush and staff to challenge the designation of a National Day of Prayer. On April 14, 2011, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the National Day of Prayer did not cause harm and a feeling of alienation cannot suffice as injury.

Top things to do in the US for National Day of Prayer

  • Attend a religious service at your place of worship on the National Day of Prayer. If you are not religious, try meditation or meditative yoga.
  • Practice mindfulness by focusing upon the internal and external experience of each moment of life. Mindfulness creates awareness and encourages one to be grateful for their blessings.
  • Offer a prayer for your loved ones and for those who are serving at the frontlines to protect America.
  • Attend a spiritual retreat that appeals to your beliefs, including meditation and yoga retreats.
  • Attend a prayer event on Prayer Day. There are many local events, some religious based, others meditation oriented.

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