Day of Prayer celebrates 70 years
Last updated 5/13/2021 at 8:25am
RITZVILLE – The 70th annual National Day of Prayer was observed Thursday, May 6. Barry and Dede Boyer, and Pastor Bill Cox of the Foursquare Church in Ritzville and Odessa, gathered below the flag at the Adams County Courthouse to share prayers for the nation, it's leaders, community leaders and citizens during the noon hour on the historic national holiday.
The National Day of Prayer began in the early 1950's, according to the National Day Calendar website. A call was made for Congress and the President to proclaim a National Day of Prayer, evangelist Billy Graham led services for around 20,000 people on the Capitol steps Feb. 3, 1952. Congress proclaimed a joint resolution for a National Day of Prayer later that year, and President Harry S. Truman set July 4 as the date to observe it.
The observance of the National Day of Prayer moved to the first Thursday in May under President Ronald Reagan, and has remained on that day since.
National days of prayers or thanks have been observed since before the country's existence. According to National Day Calendar, the Continental Congress issued a proclamation calling for a "day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer" July 20, 1775.
George Washington called for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer in 1795. John Adams declared May 9 to be a "day of solemn humility, fasting, and prayer" in 1798. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln signed a Congressional resolution calling for April 30, 1863 to be a day of fasting and prayer.
According to the National Day of Prayer Organization website, every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. In 2020, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.
Next year's National Day of Prayer will be held Thursday, May 5.