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Religious Liberty
An American Heritage

U.S. Celebrates the National Day of Prayer in May

Every first Thursday in May, many Americans participate in the National Day of Prayer. The event was first celebrated in 1775. Today the special day, established by an Act of Congress, is designated for prayer for the nation, its people, and its leaders.

Although most religions are represented and no religion is discriminated against, the majority of participants are Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish. This year, prayer observances took place in all fifty states with over 15,000 events planned from prayer breakfasts and rallies to concerts and student activities at public schools.

One event this year took place at Davis Chinese Christian Church, organized by several church leaders in the area along with Christian clubs affiliated with the University of California - Davis.

Two of the students participating expressed how important these activities were to the strength that unity builds among Christians.

"I think that the kingdom of God is like a family," said Henri Moreau, a member of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. "All differences are put aside and we are able to care for one another. When we get together in places like this, (people) begin to see that we're a big family."

"It's important for God's children to come together," Buckeldee said, "Even if we live in different parts of the country - if you live life with God's love, that's what's important."

Across the country in the state capitol of Maryland, several Christians participated in a round-the-clock reading of Scripture from Sunday, April 29 to Thursday, May 3. Members of twenty-six churches from several denominations took turns reading the Scripture in the public square in an effort to get the Word of God out to the public.

"Every time you read it (the Bible), God reveals something new...You can't read it too many times. I just feel it's something that community needs to hear if they will listen." (Mary Romer of Bay Rigde Christian Church)

"It's really a privilege...I love it. I really am thankful because we live in a nation where we can do this without persecution." (Rev. Frances Oliver of Calvary Chapel International Worship Center)

On the National Day of Prayer, the reading marathan was concluded with a group reading of Rev. Billy Graham's "Prayer for the Nation."

This makes the third year for the annual event. Participants are encouraged by the acceptance and interest toward those observing the reading and are eager for the marathon to continue and increase in popularity among Maryland residents.

"Anytime I can say a word from the Lord so it gets to the people, I'm happy..Maybe people will listen and come to the Lord." (Patricia N. Gross of Franklin United Methodist Church)

Jeanelle Pittman, "Davis Church Celebrates National Day of Prayer," Aggie News Writer, June 4, 2001; Theresa Winslow, "Bible Reading Marathon Comes to Lawyers Mall," The Capital Online, May 4, 2001)

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