Call for National Day of Prayer

Mar 27, 2003 02:51 PM EST

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives calls for a national day of humility, prayer and fasting in seeking God’s guidance during times of war. The vote is expected to pass later in the week. The Senate approved a similar resolution last week, designating March 17 as such a day.

The resolution states, Americans should use the day of prayer "to seek guidance from God to achieve a greater understanding of our own failings and to learn how we can do better in our everyday activities, and to gain resolve in meeting the challenges that confront our nation."

"It is a resolution that I think all of us can support with humility and grace and our love for our great nation," said Rep. Christopher Shays, Republican from Conn. on March 26.

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., chief sponsor of the measure, said it has long been America's way, "when we get into an armed conflict, to turn to God and to ask his support."

Several lawmakers disagreed with the resolution, noting the dangers it may imply.

"This resolution may be seen by some as an attempt to inject religion into this war at a time when some of America's enemies abroad are asserting that this indeed is a war about religion," said the Democratic Rep. from Ohio, Dennis Kucinich.

Democratic Representative from Ohio, Ted Strickland said, “[I am] a little troubled that we would presume to tell the American people what they should do to secure the blessings and protection of Providence."

Similar resolutions were made during the Civil and Revolutionary war in America’s history. In March 16, 1776, the Continental Congress called for a day of "humiliation, fasting and prayer" in light of the dangers to American liberty, and on March 30, 1863, Abraham Lincoln, "recognizing the need of the nation to humble itself before God in repentance for its national sins, proclaimed a day of fasting, prayer and humiliation."

By Pauline J.