Tomorrow, May 5, an estimated 100 million Americans will mobilize all across the fifty states for the 54th Annual National Day of Prayer (NDOP) at public venues or at home to pray for forgiveness and grace.
According to spokesperson, Terrell Mayton, events are "creative" and "grass-roots." Participants range from corporations to Hollywood figures, and from members of the United States Armed Services to local children.
Stadium events will include one in Daytona, FL, where an estimated 15,000 people will attend.
Another event, which is expected to garner about 5,000 participants, will be located in the American Center of St. Louis, MO. In total, 30 different city halls will host events in the greater St. Louis area.
In support for the National Day of Prayer, the 3,000 marines and sailors stationed aboard the USS Bonhomme will also join in prayer.
As with the secular world, the Hollywood Prayer Network is gathering at a CBS studio site with 300-500 people.
Major airline company pilots flying from New York to Los Angeles plan to pray during their flights. In addition, the second largest chicken production company, Pilgrim's Pride, will host prayer during normal work hours in seventeen states.
Residents of Oklahoma City, OK will hold a prayer walk. The prayer walks will target younger children, said Mayton. Mayton added, "they'll learn about respect for military, police, [and] medical personnel."
In conjunction with this event, the third national rally for students to join in prayer across the nation will be held tonight. The 'Freedom: National Day of Prayer for Students' has been held on the evening before the NDOP for the past several years.
"Across the country, young folks will be engaging in a variety of activities to kick off the National Day of Prayer," said Mayton.
This year's theme is, "God Shed His Grace On Thee" (Hebrews 4:13 NIV). Shirley Dobson, chairman of the NDOP Task Force and wife of Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, highlights the concept of grace in a statement released March 1.
She stated, "The National Day of Prayer provides each of us with a powerful opportunity to humble ourselves before the Almighty" and to ask "God to forgive our collective rebellion against Him."
Prayer will focus on seven sectors of society: church, business, government, education, media, healthcare, and the family - the strategy, for which, is to connect with leaders in all seven sectors.
Other strategies for prayer include Freedom 5 (taking five minutes a day to pray), Adopt-a-Leader (praying for a national leader), and CONECT (a communication plan to put the Scriptures into action).
As an event that will represent the entire nation, the National Observance event will be held from 1:00 - 4:45 p.m. in Washington D.C. Speakers include such figures as 2005 Honorary Chairman Max Lucado, House Majority Leader Tom Delay, Dr. Gary Smalley of the Smalley Relationship Center, and Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family).
President Bush has also endorsed the National Day of Prayer and encouraged all U.S. citizens to pray on that day and observe its activities.
In a proclamation statement signed and dated May 3, 2005, he wrote, "NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 5, 2005, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the liberty and blessings we have received and for God's continued guidance and protection. I also urge all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities."
He also acknowledged the active role of prayer throughout the nation's history, including the founding of America, the Civil War, and WWII. He also points out that today, the nation prays for those who serve in the US Armed Forces.
"Throughout our history, our Nation has turned to prayer for strength and guidance in times of challenge and uncertainty," he wrote.
In an audio clip on the NDOP website, http://www.ndptf.org, he said, "The first president to live in this house composed a prayer on his second evening here for all who would follow him. Our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln knew that his burdens were too great for any man, so he carried them to God. Over the radio on D-Day in 1944, Franklin Roosevelt prayed for God's blessing on our mission to set free a suffering humanity."
In addition to the Presidential proclamation, 46 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have also signed 2005 state proclamations, including California and New Jersey. New York signed a proclamation last year.
This year, the U.S. National Day of Prayer is the kickoff to global prayer events. The global Prayer Week is set for May 8-15, and the first-ever Global Day of Prayer - with the goal of mobilizing 200 million people - is to be Pentecost day, May 15. According to the the official website, www.globaldayofprayer.org, the Global Day of Prayer is expected to be the largest prayer gathering in history.
"The body of Christ is going to be mobilizing a tremendous amount of prayer during this time, states Tim Taylor, the Washington state coordinator for the National Day of Prayer. Calling it "an offensive strategic prayer campaign," he states, "We have an opportunity to lead the charge in this global prayer strike by kicking off our National Day of Prayer just days prior to both Global Events."