Thursday is the National Day of Prayer, an observance made official in 1952 by a joint session of Congress and signed into law by President Harry Truman.
Recently, U.S. District Justice Barbara Crabb of Wisconsin ruled the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional because “It goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment' of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context.”
Our forefathers would differ with Crabb. In 1775 the Continental Congress asked the Colonies to pray for wisdom in forming our nation. Benjamin Franklin proclaimed during the writing of the Constitution in 1787, “God governs in the affairs of man. I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning.” During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of “humiliation, fasting and prayer.”
Our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. It prohibits the establishment of any one specific religion or denomination, which if not practiced, or another is practiced, be punishable by law. Public pronouncement of a day of prayer does not constitute the government's establishment of a specific religion.
While no mandate can shut up the human spirit in worshipping God, it's important for nations to officially acknowledge God. Nations that have publicly recognized a Creator, a Giver of Life, as opposed to implications that mankind exists by chance with no apparent purpose, are those nations that have most valued and protected life. They are nations whose people and whose economy, free from government oppression and tyranny, have most prospered.
Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer task force, said in response to Crabb's ruling: “This foundation (which initially sued and is behind the ruling) is a small but concerted effort by a very determined number of people who have tried to prohibit all references to God in all public venues. This is unconscionable for a free society.”
I personally ponder that if God can be cursed publicly on TV and at sports events, causing many Americans to grieve, why can he not on the other hand be publicly thanked, esteemed and extolled?
The National Day of Prayer is strictly voluntary. It will be observed by millions across our land in gatherings from Maine to Hawaii. Many Americans will pray for our president, congressmen, governors and mayors. Prayers for families; moms, dads and children will be offered. Through many years of praying and listening, I've never heard a person say, “Please do not pray for me.”
A Steps of City Hall prayer observance will be held at noon Thursday. Mayor Julián Castro will read the National Day of Prayer City Proclamation. San Antonio school students will recite quotes from our nation's forefathers reminding us of their dependence upon God. The National Day of Prayer has been observed in San Antonio since 1987. For more information, go to www.NDPsanantonio.org.
For your Great Name's Sake! Hear us ... Forgive us ... Heal us! ~ Daniel 9:19
San Antonio National Day of Prayer | Last updated on April 21, 2017