The nation will observe the 60th annual National Day of Prayer this Thursday, May 5, 2011. This year’s event follows closely on the heels of a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that overturned a lower court decision declaring the presidential proclamation unconstitutional. On April 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, based in Chicago, ruled 3-0 that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) did not have standing to continue its challenge to the 1952 congressional act declaring an annual National Day of Prayer. A lower court had previously sided with the FFRF saying the law requiring the president to proclaim a National Day of Prayer (NDP) was unconstitutional.
The appeals court ruling clarified that since there was no requirement on a person to participate in the religious observance, there was no harm. “Those who do not agree with a president’s statement may speak in opposition to it, they are not entitled to silence the speech of which they disapprove,” wrote chief judge Frank Esterbrook.
Michael Calhoun, Director of Strategic Communication for the NDP Task Force, said in a press release that this ruling was timely given the challenges facing our nation. “We are thankful for the outcome,” he wrote. “I can’t think of a time in recent memory when it has been more important to pray for wisdom and direction for our country and its leaders.”
Believers across the nation will be doing just that, as Concerned Women for America (CWA) state leaders are partnering with their local NDP organizers to further CWA’s mission of prayer and action.
“CWA’s state organizations are privileged every year to come alongside the National Day of Prayer activities in their states and lend our support by participating in the activities,” said CWA National Field Director Kenda Bartlett. “We are grateful for the many hearts and minds that will be lifted in unison for our country and our leaders. It is a special time of rejoicing and supplication for our nation, as well as repentance for our transgressions both individually and corporately. CWA has always supported the efforts of others who have had the vision for prayer; it is a fundamental part of our ministry. We are very appreciative of all the efforts made by the National Day of Prayer to call Americans to prayer at a difficult time for our country.”
In the past, some CWA chapters have organized their own NDP events, while others have served as volunteers and participants in NDP events organized by others in their community. For more information on CWA’s activities in your area, visit states.cwfa.org. A complete list of local events can be found on the NDP website, www.NationalDayofPrayer.org.
The national observance will be held at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C,. where 2011’s Honorary Chairman, Joni Eareckson Tada, will deliver the keynote address.
The theme of this year’s event is “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” taken from Psalm 91:2, “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.'”
We invite you to download the CWA “Key 16” Prayer List card by clicking here. The CWA Key 16 card helps you in your ongoing prayer commitment to pray for our nation and those in positions of authority. The Key 16 card lists the “key 16” national and state leaders so that you pray for each one by name. The card provides blank spaces you can fill in with the names of elected officials specific to your own state and locality. Click here to find your Members of Congress to fill in the card.