WASHINGTON - The nation and its millions of residents are uniting in prayer today for the 56th Annual National Day of Prayer.
It's a day when Americans of all faiths are urged to "drop their denominational tags and racial and cultural differences" and pray, said NDP chairwoman Shirley Dobson, according to One News Now.
"The greatest gift we can offer anyone is the gift of our prayers, because our prayers have power beyond our imagining," said President George W. Bush on Thursday in front of a crowd that included Dobson and Dr. Charles R. Swindoll, 2007 honorary chairman for NDP.
Americans have answered the annual call to prayer since 1775 when the Continental Congress issued a day of prayer. The National Day of Prayer was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1952.
"We're a prayerful nation," said Bush. "I believe that makes us a strong nation."
The strength of prayers was revealed in recent weeks when a student at Virginia Tech shot 32 people dead before committing suicide, leaving the nation in shock and mourning. Since the day of the shooting on Apr. 16, students, campus ministries and the rest of the nation have sent continual prayers to the victims and their families, letting them know of their support and remembrance of the tragic day.
Bush highlighted the power of those prayers in his April 20 proclamation of the National Day of Prayer.
Local prayer events across the nation will join millions of prayers on Thursday, including those of renowned figures like Super Bowl Coach Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts.
"Whether I win or lose doesn't define who I am because for every high in life I know there can always be a low," he said in a video message. "I find my strength in prayer. God wants us to pray and He delights when we do."
Days before the National Day of Prayer, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s joined the other 49 state governors in issuing a proclamation declaring the day of prayer. Before then, Spitzer was the only U.S. governor not to have issued a proclamation, prompting wide-spread criticism.