|When is National Day of Prayer?|
|What is National Day of Prayer?|
National Day of Prayer is an annual event that is celebrated on the first Thursday in the month of May. Originally designated by the U.S. Congress, the purpose of the day is to have American citizens "turn to God in prayer and meditation." The official National Day of Prayer website states that their mission is "to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in culture."
Almost every U.S. President has signed a proclamation each year that encourages citizens to pray on this special day. The notable Presidents who did not issue these proclamations are Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Even though the current law that formalizes the annual observance of National Day of Prayer was not enacted until President Harry S. Truman signed it into law in 1952, the Second Continental Congress established days for fasting and prayer as early as 1775. President John Adams also estbalished prayer and fasting days in 1798-1799.
The Freedom From Religioin Foundation (FFRF) challenged the constitutionality of this National Day of Prayer in 2008. The court battle ensued for a couple of years but this attempt was unanimously dismissed by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal appellate court, in April 2011. The court ruled that "a feeling of alienation cannot suffice as injury" and that FFRF had no legal standing to sue.