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Reflecting on National Day of Prayer

True confession: Until asked to write this blog, I knew almost nothing about our country’s National Day of Prayer. The day is celebrated annually on the first Thursday of May. Google filled in some blanks for me.

Trite as it may be, I’m going to use the “did you know?” technique to share some of what I learned. I’ll also ask some questions the facts evoked in me.

Did you know?

In 1768, the city of Boston declared a day of prayer. This was to protest the British plan to station English troops in the city’s harbor. Prayer as protest?

In the New England Colonies under British rule, a day in late fall called for a day of prayer in the spirit of thanksgiving. Days in spring or summer called for prayer and fasting. Prayer recognizing the lights and shadows of our nation?

In January-February 1952 during the Korean War, Reverend Billy Graham advocated for a national day of prayer. In April of that year, President Harry Truman issued a bill, approved by Congress. It declared that the President of the United States annually designate the first Thursday in May as a national day of prayer. Prayer’s power recognized in times of distress?

In 1988, the rationale for the National Day of Prayer was stated in this way: “A day when adherents of all great religions could unite in prayer and that it may one day bring renewed respect for God to all the peoples of the world.” Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Christians of all denominations pray with one another, for one another and for all creation. Prayer as the path to healing, unity and peace?

A traditional definition of prayer is “to raise one’s mind and heart to God.” On this National Day of Prayer, for whom and/or with whom will you raise your mind and heart to God?

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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1 Comment

  1. Lori Strawn on May 6, 2021 at 9:56 am

    Exquisitely written, S. Denise! Thank you!

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