National Day of Prayer – May 7, 2020

Thu May 7

It’s no news that faith is a big part of American culture. It’s a diverse nation filled with people from various ethnicities with a variety of beliefs. Americans sure are no stranger to faith, and so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that they’ve decided to create a day that has a theme all about these religious diversities (May 7).

History of National Day of Prayer

Throughout history, there have been few national days of prayer. In fact, there were only a few noteworthy ones between the 1700s – 1900s. The National Day of Prayer that we know today was founded in 1952, and it was co-founded effort between the United States Congress and President Harry S. Truman.

The holiday was signed into law by President Truman, and every president since has signed a proclamation that encourages Americans to pray on and celebrate this day. The national holiday has always been the first Thursday of May every year since it was founded in 1952. It stands as a day that continues the decision-making of the country’s founding fathers, which used the morals from biblical lessons in difficult situations. Basically, using God’s guidance to make important decisions in the country and for yourself. Just like Thanksgiving and Christmas, the National Day of Prayer has become recognized by Americans nation-wide, and it is even recognized and celebrated in all Hallmark calendars.

Knowing that America was founded by people of European-descent with predominantly Christian backgrounds, it’s no surprise that this holiday was originally created to celebrate Christian faith. National Day of Prayer was an effort to ask American citizens “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.”

According to the National Day of Prayer website, there’s a need for every individual to take time to personal repentance and prayer and to mobilize the Christian community. However, there’s no laws saying National Day of Prayer can’t be celebrated by all cultures, beliefs, and religions, and as America grew to become a multicultural nation, it is widely celebrated by more than just those in the Christian community.

National Day of Prayer timeline

1988

National Day of Prayer is Designated

The law was amended and signed by President Reagan for the day to land on the first Thursday of May.

1952

National Day of Prayer

It was co-founded by Congress and signed into law by President Truman.

1863

Day of Fasting and Prayer

During the Civil War, Lincoln signed a congressional resolution that made April 30 a day of fasting and prayer.

1775

The First National Day of Prayer

The Continental Congress made a proclamation that stated “a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer” be created.

National Day of Prayer FAQs

Is today National Day of Prayer?

If today is the first Thursday in May, then you’re right on time to celebrate National Day of Prayer.

Why is there a national day of prayer?

National Days of Prayers have been established for multiple reasons over the years, but the main reason is to unite people through faith and peace.

What do Americans pray for the most?

Recent studies have shown that the top thing people pray for is for their family and friends.

National Day of Prayer Activities

  1. Take a moment to pray

    Since this day is designed for people to take time to actually pray, the best way you can celebrate it is to do just that. No matter what faith you believe, take a moment to celebrate it, reflect on it, say or think about a few messages you’d like to send your god(s), and acknowledge the existence of faith in your life.

  2. Research some interesting facts about your faith’s history

    Research some interesting facts about your faith’s history Religion goes way back – I mean way, way back. Even in ancient civilizations there was some sort of belief system. Whether you realize it or not, your religion probably has elements from these faiths from ancient times. Take time to brush up your knowledge on your religion; you’ll definitely learn something interesting.

  3. Donate money or volunteer for your local house of faith

    Whether you celebrate a form of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any type of religion, there will always be a house of worship or prayer nearby. Whether or not you practice your faith in a community building, there’s nothing stopping you from donating money or volunteering your time to help out. Maybe you’ll learn a few new things about your faith and meet others in the community!

5 Facts About National Day Of Prayer

  1. There’s been over 140 national days of prayer

    Since the 1700s to now, America has called for over 140 national days of prayer, humiliation, fasting, and thanksgiving by the President.

  2. Christians represent 73.7% of America’s religious population

    This includes Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, and other faiths under the Christianity umbrella.

  3. Islam is the fastest-growing religion

    However a 2050 religious forecast believes the global Muslim population is expected to grow at a faster rate.

  4. Roughly 45% of Americans pray every day

    Comparatively, 31% pray more than once a day, and 65% pray about once a month.

  5. 21% of Americans pray to win the lottery

    That’d be a lot of lottery winners if their prayers were answered!

Why We Love National Day of Prayer

  1. It makes you take time to relax

    Even if you’re someone who doesn’t practice a faith, it’s still good to take time out of your life for peace and reflection, and that’s part of why this day was created. We live such busy lives these days that it’s too often that we forget to just take a moment to ourselves to think about and appreciate all that we have.

  2. It brings out part of your cultural history

    It’s likely that your parents or grandparents had some kind of belief or religion that they practiced. Having a national day of prayer helps everyone take a moment to remember how their family was raised and reflect on their cultural and family history.

  3. It shows us a lot of history about Christianity in America

    The National Day of Prayer has a long history – it dates all the back to 1700! Even though National Day of Prayer like we know it today was created in the mid-1900, it’s interesting to see how Christianity and religion has evolved over time in the USA.

National Day of Prayer dates

YearDateDay
2021May 6Thursday
2022May 5Thursday
2023May 4Thursday
2024May 2Thursday
2025May 1Thursday