National Day of Prayer in the United States
National Day of Prayer calls on all people of different faiths in the United States to pray for the nation and its leaders. It is held on the first Thursday of May each year.
What Do People Do?
Through the efforts of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, more than 35,000 prayer gatherings will be conducted by about 40,000 volunteers across the United States. Several million people are expected to participate in this call to prayer. Some celebrities, such as popular musician and Grammy Award winner Ricky Skaggs, will join millions of Americans in praying for the nation.
Other events in various communities across the United States may include: choirs and bands performing songs relating to prayer; community prayer breakfasts or luncheons; daytime prayer walks; and evening worship and prayer services or gatherings. National Day of Prayer is a time for people of all faiths to pray together in their own way.
National Day of Prayer is not a public holiday. Schools, post offices, stores and other businesses and organizations are open as usual. Public transport services run to their usual schedules and no extra congestion on highways is to be expected.
In 1775 the Continental Congress allocated a time for prayer in forming a new nation. Over the years, there have been calls for a day of prayer, including from President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer.
The National Prayer Committee was formed in the United States in 1972. It went on to create the National Day of Prayer Task Force, with the intended purpose of coordinating events for the National Day of Prayer. According to the Legal Information Institute, the President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.
National Day of Prayer Observances
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday Type||Where It is Observed|
|Thu||May 6||2010||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
|Thu||May 5||2011||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
|Thu||May 3||2012||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
|Thu||May 2||2013||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
|Thu||May 1||2014||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
|Thu||May 7||2015||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
|Thu||May 5||2016||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
|Thu||May 4||2017||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
|Thu||May 3||2018||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
|Thu||May 2||2019||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
|Thu||May 7||2020||National Day of Prayer||Observance|
Quick FactsNational Day of Prayer is held on the first Thursday of May each year, inviting Americans of all faiths to pray for the country and its leaders.
National Day of Prayer 2016Thursday, May 5, 2016
National Day of Prayer 2017Thursday, May 4, 2017
Name in other languages
|National Day of Prayer||English|
|Día Nacional de la Oración||Spanish|
|היום הלאומי של תפילה||Hebrew|
|اليوم الوطني للصلاة||Arabic|
|기도의 건국 기념일||Korean|
|Nationaler Tag des Gebets (National Day of Prayer)||German|
Other holidays in May 2017 in the United States
- Law Day – Monday, May 1, 2017
- Yom Ha'atzmaut – Tuesday, May 2, 2017
- Kent State Shootings Remembrance – Thursday, May 4, 2017
- Cinco de Mayo – Friday, May 5, 2017
- National Nurses Day – Saturday, May 6, 2017
- Truman Day – Monday, May 8, 2017
- State Holiday – Wednesday, May 10, 2017
- Lag BaOmer – Sunday, May 14, 2017
- Peace Officers Memorial Day – Monday, May 15, 2017
- National Defense Transportation Day – Friday, May 19, 2017
- Armed Forces Day – Saturday, May 20, 2017
- National Maritime Day – Monday, May 22, 2017
- Emergency Medical Services for Children Day – Wednesday, May 24, 2017
- Ascension Day – Thursday, May 25, 2017
- Ramadan starts – Saturday, May 27, 2017
- Memorial Day – Monday, May 29, 2017
- Shavuot – Wednesday, May 31, 2017