Answering the Call to Pray

The 61st Annual National Day of Prayer brought together an estimated 500 in Niagara Square, Buffalo. Photo by Bob Caple 
An estimated 500 people locally answered the call to join the nation in prayer, May 3 for the National Day of Prayer in Niagara Square, Buffalo. This was the 61st annual National Day of Prayer a tradition kept alive since Harry S. Truman in 1952 declared a National Day of Prayer and signed into law an annual observance there of. This was followed by Ronald Reagan in 1988 who signed into law the designation of the first Thursday in May as the annual observance for the National Day of Prayer. Then in 1998 Pub. L. 105-225, August 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1258: was issued stating, 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.
    The local expression of the National Day of Prayer in Buffalo has been joining together in Niagara Square for a number of years has coined the name, "Prayer in the Square." The 12-1:30 gathering invites believers to join other believers from every denomination, nation, tribe, people and language before the Throne of God to experienced God's power and answers to prayer. Representatives and leaders from 10 specific prayer focuses led the group of believers in prayer for government, media, business, church, family and more. Kathy Bowman, of Buffalo's Antioch Holiness Church on Michigan Avenue was the NDP Taskforce chairwoman for this year's event and kicked off this year's observance by reading a proclamation from President Barack Obama. Below is the full statement released by the White House:
     Prayer has always been a part of the American story, and today countless Americans rely on prayer for comfort, direction, and strength, praying not only for themselves, but for their communities, their country, and the world.
On this National Day of Prayer, we give thanks for our democracy that respects the beliefs and protects the religious freedom of all people to pray, worship, or abstain according to the dictates of their conscience. Let us pray for all the citizens of our great Nation, particularly those who are sick, mourning, or without hope, and ask God for the sustenance to meet the challenges we face as a Nation. May we embrace the responsibility we have to each other, and rely on the better angels of our nature in service to one another. Let us be humble in our convictions, and courageous in our virtue. Let us pray for those who are suffering around the world, and let us be open to opportunities to ease that suffering.
Let us also pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces who have answered our country’s call to serve with honor in the pursuit of peace. Our grateful Nation is humbled by the sacrifices made to protect and defend our security and freedom. Let us pray for the continued strength and safety of our service members and their families. While we pause to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending liberty, let us remember and lend our voices to the principles for which they fought — unity, human dignity, and the pursuit of justice.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 3, 2012, as a National Day of Prayer. I invite all citizens of our Nation, as their own faith directs them, to join me in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy, and I call upon individuals of all faiths to pray for guidance, grace, and protection for our great Nation as we address the challenges of our time.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.