Christians across the U.S. are moving as one body to organize special events locally in observance of the 53rd annual National Day of Prayer (NDOP). This year's theme is ``Let Freedom Ring: The freedom to gather, the freedom to worship, the freedom to pray'' and is based on Leviticus 25:10.
On Thursday, May 6, more than 20,000 prayer gatherings will take place across the nation joined by many leaders including governmental officials to acknowledge God and pray for the nation in His name.
While the nationwide event is sponsored by various Christian organizations, some leaders are anticipating resistance from civil rights groups such as American Civil Liberty Counsel. Mat Staver, President of Liberty Counsel, a Christian organization that is dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and the traditional family, is urging government officials not to intervene in the National Day of Prayer.
Although in the past some groups tried to stop the National Day of Prayer, Staver said that Christians shouldn’t be afraid of the ACLU.
"One of the things that we will ensure this year is that the NDOP gets equal treatment and equal access," he said.
Meanwhile, Preside Bush proclaimed this year’s National Day of Prayer, April 30. Following is the proclamation released by the White House:
National Day of Prayer, 2004
By the President of the United States of America
In his first Inaugural Address, President George Washington prayed that the Almighty would preserve the freedom of all Americans. On the National Day of Prayer, we celebrate that freedom and America's great tradition of prayer. The National Day of Prayer encourages Americans of every faith to give thanks for God's many blessings and to pray for each other and our Nation.
Prayer is an opportunity to praise God for His mighty works, His gift of freedom, His mercy, and His boundless love. Through prayer, we recognize the limits of earthly power and acknowledge the sovereignty of God. According to Scripture, "the Lord is near to all who call upon Him . . . He also will hear their cry, and save them." Prayer leads to humility and a grateful heart, and it turns our minds to the needs of others.
On this National Day of Prayer, we pray especially for the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who are serving around the world to defend the cause of liberty. We are grateful for their courage and sacrifice and ask God to comfort their families while they are away from home. We also pray that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, and throughout the Greater Middle East, may live in safety and freedom. During this time, we continue to ask God's blessing for our Nation, granting us strength to meet the challenges ahead and wisdom as we work to build a more peaceful future for all.
The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society by recognizing annually a "National Day of Prayer."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 2004, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God's continued guidance and protection. I also urge all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.
GEORGE W. BUSH