Proclamation 4826—National Day of Prayer, 1981
Our Nation's motto "In God We Trust"—was not chosen lightly. It reflects a basic recognition that there is a divine authority in the universe to which this Nation owes homage.
Throughout our history Americans have put their faith in God and no one can doubt that we have been blessed for it. The earliest settlers of this land came in search of religious freedom. [See APP note.] Landing on a desolate shoreline, they established a spiritual foundation that has served us ever since.
It was the hard work of our people, the freedom they enjoyed and their faith in God that built this country and made it the envy of the world. In all of our great cities and towns evidence of the faith of our people is found: houses of worship of every denomination are among the oldest structures.
While never willing to bow to a tyrant, our forefathers were always willing to get to their knees before God. When catastrophe threatened, they turned to God for deliverance. When the harvest was bountiful the first thought was thanksgiving to God.
Prayer is today as powerful a force in our Nation as it has ever been. We as a Nation should never forget this source of strength. And while recognizing that the freedom to choose a Godly path is the essence of liberty, as a Nation we cannot but hope that more of our citizens would, through prayer, come into a closer relationship with their Maker.
Recognizing our great heritage, the Congress, by Joint Resolution approved April 17, 1952 ( 36 U.S.C. 169h; 66 Stat. 64), has called upon the President to set aside a suitable day each year as a National Day of. Prayer.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Thursday, May 7, 1981, National Day of Prayer. On that day I ask all who believe to join with me in giving thanks to Almighty God for the blessings He has bestowed on this land and the protection He affords us as a people. Let us as a Nation join together before God, fully aware of the trials that lie ahead and the need, yes, the necessity, for divine guidance. With unshakeable faith in God and the liberty which is heritage, we as a free Nation will surely survive and prosper.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of March, in year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifth.
APP Note: In the Second paragraph, the text as published in the Public Papers read as follows: "The earliest settlers of this land came came in search of religious freedom." In this version we have corrected this mistake.
Ronald Reagan, Proclamation 4826—National Day of Prayer, 1981 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/247406