Digital First: Vicksburg leaders and pastors commemorate National Day of Prayer amid pandemic

News

At a time when Americans may be turning to prayer more than ever, City leaders, pastors and community members honored the National Day of Prayer Thursday on the steps of the city hall. This Year’s day of prayer consisted of prayers for government and local leaders, family, churches and spiritual leaders, servicemen, women, and military leaders, school teachers, youth and parents, ending with a prayer of unity.

This 2020 National Day of Prayer comes amid an ongoing global health crisis resulting in the death of more than 73,000 Americans and record unemployment claims, with houses of worship closing their doors and many Americans turning to faith as they stay inside their homes. Around the country, religious observers have shifted habits amid social distancing, taking to video conferencing services and livestreams during some of the year’s holiest times: Easter, Passover and Ramadan.

The History

In 1775 the Continental Congress allocated a time for prayer in forming a new nation. Over the years, there have been calls for a day of prayer, including from President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer.

The National Prayer Committee was formed in the United States in 1972. It went on to create the National Day of Prayer Task Force, with the intended purpose of coordinating events for the National Day of Prayer.  According to the Legal Information Institute, the President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.

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