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National Day of Prayer set for Thursday

April 26, 2002

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In the wake of the tragedies of Sept. 11, the National Day of Prayer invites millions of Americans to join hands across denominational lines for a day of prayer on Thursday.

The Scripture verse adopted for the 2002 observance, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1), is especially meaningful given the world's instability and the promise of an uncertain future, say Day of Prayer organizers.

"The American psyche was rocked by the horrific evil perpetrated on September 11 and many have sought meaning, security and spiritual comfort in its wake," said Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. "It's no surprise that Americans have drawn closer to God as our country's forefathers did when faced with unseen enemies and unrest. As citizens humbly petition our Creator, asking His blessing, guidance and healing on our land, we are confident they will receive grace and the power to defend our freedoms."

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Organizers expect the crowds to be unprecedented, far surpassing the millions who attended the 30,000 events held nationally last year.

Participants will gather at courthouses, businesses, around school flagpoles, in places of worship and public arenas. Lloyd Ogilvie, chaplain of the United States Senate, has written a prayer that will be read at noon; President Bush will authorize a special proclamation; and all 50 governors are expected to sign documents recognizing the occasion.

The National Day of Prayer tradition dates back to Feb. 19, 1795, when President George Washington issued a proclamation setting aside a day of public thanksgiving. An annual day of prayer was established by Congress in 1952 and specifically designated in 1988 as the first Thursday in May.

>> On the Web: www.nationaldayofprayer.org

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