Congressmen, Faith Leaders to Affirm America's Spiritual Heritage

While there will be no White House observance for the National Day of Prayer, members of Congress and a group of faith leaders will convene on Thursday to affirm America's spiritual and religious history.

"America was birthed in a prayer meeting led by our Founding Fathers," said Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, in a statement.

"After dissention arose among the Revolutionary leaders about the proper form of Government, and when all hope seemed lost, Benjamin Franklin arose and said, 'Have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance?' The Founders convened a three day prayer meeting and America was born."

Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) has introduced America's Spiritual Heritage Resolution to recognize the vital role prayer has played in the nation's founding and history and to express support for designating the first week in May as "American Religious History Week."

Forbes is joined by 24 cosponsors of the resolution and will participate in a bipartisan press briefing on Thursday.

This year marks the 58th annual observance of the National Day of Prayer.

A recent announcement by the Obama administration indicated that the president will be signing a proclamation for the prayer day but will not hold a formal event at the White House as his predecessor, George W. Bush, traditionally did.

A formal White House observance for the annual prayer day was also not held during the Clinton administration.

"We are disappointed in the lack of participation by the Obama Administration," said Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. "At this time in our country's history, we would hope our President would recognize more fully the importance of prayer."

According to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, Obama prays daily and on Thursday, the president will pray "privately," as reported by Fox News.