U.S. Capitol site of prayer effort

By May 4, 2010

USA (MNN/CNW) — The first Thursday in May each year is traditionally the National Day of Prayer. This year, it falls on May 6, 2010.

The idea for the law establishing the National Day of Prayer came in 1952, at the end of Billy Graham's six-week Washington, D.C. revival.

Rev. Graham had been invited by House Speaker Sam Rayburn to conclude his series of messages by leading a worship service on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Speaking there to a crowd that observers claimed was bigger than for most inaugurations, Billy Graham said, "What a thrilling, glorious thing it would be to see the leaders of our country today kneeling before Almighty God in prayer. What a thrill would sweep this country. What renewed hope and courage would grip Americans at this hour of peril."

The very next day, Representative Percy Priest introduced the bill which established a National Day of Prayer, noting that the country had been "challenged yesterday by the suggestion made on the east steps of the Capitol by Billy Graham that the Congress call on the President for the proclamation of a day of prayer."

This year, Billy Graham's son, Franklin Graham, is the honorary chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. The year's theme is "Prayer: For such a time as this."

This year, for the first time, there will be a National Day of Prayer observance on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. On May 6, 2010, beginning at 11:30 a.m. when the Bible Reading Marathon concludes, and continuing until 1:00 p.m., there will be a Solemn Assembly of Prayer.

Don't expect music or speeches, and don't bring any banners or signs.

For such a time as this, the prayer time on the Capitol steps will have no pomp, just prayer. No protest, just prayer. No personalities, just prayer. No party division, just prayer. Communion will be offered at the end of the time of prayer. That's what we all need right now, for such a time as this.

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