Obama on the National Day of Prayer: ‘Let us be humble in our convictions’

The National Day of Prayer remains both a point of national pride and contention.

Congress where “the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals” is Thursday.

As is customary, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation declaring May 3, 2012, this year’s National Day of Prayer. The proclamation follows:

“Prayer has always been a part of the American story, and today countless Americans rely on prayer for comfort, direction, and strength, praying not only for themselves, but for their communities, their country, and the world.

On this National Day of Prayer, we give thanks for our democracy that respects the beliefs and protects the religious freedom of all people to pray, worship, or abstain according to the dictates of their conscience. Let us pray for all the citizens of our great Nation, particularly those who are sick, mourning, or without hope, and ask God for the sustenance to meet the challenges we face as a Nation. May we embrace the responsibility we have to each other, and rely on the better angels of our nature in service to one another. Let us be humble in our convictions, and courageous in our virtue. Let us pray for those who are suffering around the world, and let us be open to opportunities to ease that suffering.

Let us also pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces who have answered our country’s call to serve with honor in the pursuit of peace. Our grateful Nation is humbled by the sacrifices made to protect and defend our security and freedom. Let us pray for the continued strength and safety of our service members and their families. While we pause to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending liberty, let us remember and lend our voices to the principles for which they fought — unity, human dignity, and the pursuit of justice.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 3, 2012, as a National Day of Prayer. I invite all citizens of our Nation, as their own faith directs them, to join me in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy, and I call upon individuals of all faiths to pray for guidance, grace, and protection for our great Nation as we address the challenges of our time.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.”

Despite the government’s endorsement of the holiday, for years the National Day of Prayer has been criticized, largely by secular activists, as a violation of the principle of the separation of church and state.

This year, secular advocates are holding a counter-event, calling May 3rd the National Day of Reason. Read about that event in Herb Silverman’s guest column for On Faith here:

Silverman: Instead of a ‘National Day of Prayer’ do we need a National Day of Reason?

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  • TheMSMControlsUs

    Yeah, that’s the first thing I think of when someone mentions Obama, his humility.

    Did he deliver that prayer at the Brandenburg Gate?

  • MelissaMontoya-GoodWithoutGods

    Seriously, as glad as I am to hear the Present’s feeling on the mater and that he kept everyone in mind on this controversial day. That video of that prayer guy was SO offensive and exclusionary.

    I can not wait until we no longer support this unconstitutional ‘day of prayer’ nonsense. Again I am glad that the president at least acknowledged that is is a deeply personal ethical reason that I do not pray (‘according to the dictates of their conscience’).

    Thank you Mr. President.


    Realistically, this is on the same level as the presidential pardoning of the turkeys.

    Ooops, scratch that – the pardoned turkeys actually get to go to a nice home. Praying to an imaginary sky-daddy does nothing.


    How about a National Hat Day where we all wear hats?

  • jdpril20

    I don’t care what god you pray to there’s only one God .God almighty and his son Jesus Christ. Has anyone ever read the bible and seen all the prophecies that are written in that book and how they are coming true .Our forefathers use to pray and read the bible and pray at congressional meetings and we were a great nation .God promises blessings if we worship him ,and curses if we forget him ,and we were great ,but since the sixties we have been pushing God out of America and our nation is going down and you won’t make America a better unless we repent from our sinful ways. When Nations refuse to turn back to God He turns that nation over to their enemies Put Prayer back in the schools put the Sabbaths back get rid of abortion out law same sex marriage and homosexually Don’t have anything to do or be apart off Satan inspired individuals that want to make all religions one., Or this one world system or one world religion this is Satins doing against God and it will never happen These are Godless men doing the work of Satan I guarantee you no matter what you do things will only get worse without God in the picture .God and Satan are as real as you and me and you have only two choices serve God or Satan .Jesus Christ said it all .I an the way the truth and the life. He who does not believe in me dies in his sins So make your choice life or death.

  • AJAX2


    Sun twentieth of Taurus the earth will tremble very mightily, it will ruin the great theater filled: To darken and trouble air, sky and land, then – the infidel will call upon GOD and saints.

  • Tornogal

    So are all the other faiths wrong?