By Michael Hernandez
VENTURA COUNTY—The National Prayer Day (Thursday, May 7th) will feature both a Ventura County Prayer Service (2-3 p.m.) and a National Prayer Day Service (5-7 p.m.).
The Ventura County Prayer Service can be joined on a free conference phone line from 2-3 p.m. at 1-515-604-9586 (Access: 389244#). Featured prayer guests include: Ray Carrillo, Andrew Carroll, Frank Castaneda, Gloria Massey Chinea, Jeanette and Michael Hernandez (host), Gail Hubbs, Craig Linquist, Gail and Jerry Nordskog, Al Norquist, Lorena Saruwatari, and Robin Steiger.
The theme of the Ventura County Prayer Service is from 2 Chronicles 7:14:
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
The National Prayer Day Service from 5-7 p.m. features: Kanita Benson, Kathy Brazell, Will Graham, Nick Hall, Harry Jackson, Robert Morris, Gabrielle Odom, Andrew Palau, Luis Palau, Michael W. Smith, Greg Stier, Rick Warren, and Billy Wilson.
Theme of the National Prayer Day is from Habakkuk 2:14: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”
National Prayer Day organizers stated: “God made a promise to the prophet Habakkuk during some very deep and troubling times in Israel’s history. It was a time marked by darkness and disobedience from the culture and God’s people. The prophet cries out to God for hope and help and God answers in a most unexpected way; to use a wicked, idol-worshipping nation’s army to come and execute His judgment on His people.
“Habakkuk could not believe what he was hearing as God began to detail the ‘woes’ that would come to pass, but in the middle of the pronouncement of woes God pauses to make a profound promise that would eventually be seen in the face of Jesus Christ and spread by Christ-followers until Christ returns.”
The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.
The National Day of Prayer Task Force says their mission is “to mobilize unified public prayer for America.” The Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer.
The Task Force communicates the need for personal repentance and prayer, creates appropriate promotional materials, and mobilizes the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and families. The Task Force represents a Judeo-Christian expression of the national observance, based on an understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.
Every year, local, state, and federal observances are held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for our nation. It is estimated that over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances last year – organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers at state capitols, county court houses, on the steps of city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes.
- 1775 – The first Continental Congress called for a National Day of Prayer
- 1863 – Abraham Lincoln called for such a day.
- 1952 – Congress established NDP as an annual event by a joint resolution, signed into law by President Truman (82-324)
- 1988 – The law was amended and signed by President Reagan, designating the NDP as the first Thursday in May (100-307).
(Editor’s Note: For a complete history of Prayer in America see the two-part series by William J. Federer with Part I on: “Colonial Days and Revolution” go to the Citizens Journal link: https://www.citizensjournal.us/history-of-prayer-in-america-part-i-colonial-days-revolution/ and Part II posted today on: “Post Revolutionary War.”)
- There have been 146 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President of the United States (1789 – 2017).
- There have been 69 Presidential Proclamations for a National Day of Prayer (1952 – 2017). Gerald R. Ford (1976), George H. Bush (1989 – 91), Barack H. Obama (2012), and Donald J. Trump (2017) are the only U.S. Presidents to sign multiple National Day of Prayer Proclamations in the same year.
- Every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.
- 35 of the 45 U.S. Presidents have signed proclamations for National Prayer. Three of the Presidents who did not sign a proclamation died while serving in office. Two Presidents, not included in the count—William Howard Taft and Warren Gamaliel Harding, signed proclamations for Thanksgiving and Prayer.
- Records indicate there have been 1,526 state and federal calls for national prayer since 1775 and counting.
(Editor’s Note: The National Day of Prayer begins in Ventura County at 8 a.m. with an open prayer line. The day will end with an open bilingual prayer line at 8 p.m. The free conference phone line is 1-515-604-9586. Access: 389244#.)
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].