WASHINGTON President George Bush, joined by a host of faith leaders, made the traditional commemoration of the National Day of Prayer Thursday morning, calling America "a nation of prayer."
"It's impossible to tell the story of our nation without telling the story of people who pray," said Bush after expressing appreciation for the various religious figures who stood at his side for the 55th annual day.
Shirley Dobson, chairman of the National Day of Prayer and who has been with NDOP for 15 years, organized the White House event in addition to the tens of thousands of sites from where the nation will hear prayers today. Much of the prayers that will be heard today come from Dr. Henry Blackaby, the 2006 Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, who wrote this year's Prayer for the Nation.
"Oh Heavenly Father, You have made Yourself known to us as a nation by Your mighty works throughout our history. From the beginning, You have been with us through many wars and conflicts; Your right arm has saved us. We have been amazingly and graciously blessed," states the beginning half of the national prayer.
Among the White House guests was Grammy-Award winning Rebecca St. James, this year's national spokesperson for the National Day of Prayer and also recording artist for the theme song "America, Honor God."
James recently came out of a special taping in Nashville that was aired Wednesday as an outreach to younger audiences. The "Freedom" concert included BarlowGirl and singer/songwriter Warren Barfield and repeats will air over the next few months.
Bush noted prayer as the "greatest gift" for the country's leaders.
"I say thanks to the millions of Americans who pray each day for our nation, our troops, and our elected leaders," the president stated.
"On this day, we also remember that we are a people united by our love for freedom, even when we differ in our personal beliefs," he said. "In America, we are free to profess any faith we choose, or no faith at all. What brings us together is our shared desire to answer the call to serve something greater than ourselves."
"In the stillness and peace of prayer we surrender our will to God's will, and we learn to serve His eternal purposes," said Bush.
The National Day of Prayer will have its National Observance Thursday afternoon in Washington, D.C. to represent the thousands of prayer events taking place across the nation and to symbolize the heritage of faith established by America's founding fathers.