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Proclamation 5138—National Day of Prayer, 1984

December 14, 1983

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

In 1787, a then-elderly Benjamin Franklin said to George Washington as he presided over the Constitutional Convention, "I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?"

With these words, Mr. Franklin called upon the Convention to open each day with prayer, and from the birth of our Republic, prayer has been vital to the whole fabric of American life.

As we crossed and settled a continent, built a Nation in freedom, and endured war and critical struggles to become the leader of the Free World and a sentinel of liberty, we repeatedly turned to our Maker for strength and guidance in achieving the awesome tasks before us.

From the poignancy of General Washington's legendary prayer in the snow at Valley Forge to the dangerous times in which we live today, our leaders and the people of this Nation have called upon Divine Providence and trusted in God's wisdom to guide us through the challenges we have faced as a people and a Nation.

Whether at the landing of our forebears in New England and Virginia, the ordeal of the Revolutionary War, the stormy days of binding the thirteen colonies into one country, the Civil War, or other moments of trial over the years, we have turned to God for His help. As we are told in II Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

By Joint Resolution of the Congress approved April 17, 1952, the recognition of a particular day set aside each year as a National Day of Prayer has become part of our unification as a great Nation. This is a day on which the people of the United States are invited to turn to God in prayer and meditation in places of worship, in groups, and as individuals. Since 1952, each President has proclaimed annually a National Day of Prayer, resuming the tradition started by the Continental Congress.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Thursday, May 3, 1984, as National Day of Prayer. I call upon the citizens of this great Nation to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, for unity of the hearts of all mankind.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 14th day of Dec., in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eightythree, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.

Signature of Ronald Reagan


Ronald Reagan, Proclamation 5138—National Day of Prayer, 1984 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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