National Day of Prayer – Bill Clinton

National Day of Prayer – Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton prayer

Proclamation 6553 – National Day of Prayer, 1993
April 30, 1993
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

The American people were the first to define a nation in terms of both spirituality and human liberty. Throughout our Nation’s history, America has been a beacon for millions in search of spiritual and religious freedom. Immigrants have come to the United States seeking not just freedom from persecution and discrimination, but also freedom for the right of selfdetermination. On this National Day of Prayer, we reaffirm this fundamental freedom of religion that has made our Nation so strong.

Thomas Jefferson understood the greater purpose of the liberty that our Founding Fathers sought during the creation of our Nation. Although it was against the British that the colonists fought for political rights, the true source of the rights of man was clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote that all humans are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . . .” It was self-evident to him that denying these rights was wrong and that he and others must struggle to win what was theirs.

The epic struggle of the Revolutionary War and the vigilance that the protection of our rights has required have embedded in our Nation a profound understanding of the true meaning and value of our freedom. With the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness comes the duty to use those rights for the good of humankind. This belief is fundamental to the American tradition. The result of our Founding Fathers’ conception of a state created by man through the responsible use of God-given rights is a Nation of unparalleled freedom and dazzling diversity.

Today we face great challenges. The diversity that gives us so much strength is often seen as a source of division. We are searching for solutions to the difficult challenges of providing a safe and rewarding future for our children, of securing adequate health care for our people, and of building good, nurturing communities.

Through prayer our people take a moment away from the concerns of everyday life to understand the greater power that gives us guidance. We come together in an act common to all religions. Prayer gives us a quiet space to remember and contemplate the greater purpose of the activity that fills our lives. As a Nation, we understand the common bonds we all share, and we recommit ourselves to serving a greater good. Prayer enables us to rejoice in our freedoms and understand the implicit responsibility that accompanies them. We return to the guiding vision that gives our Nation so much vitality.

By joint resolution of the Congress, approved April 17, 1952, the people have recognized the role of spiritual reaffirmation and prayer in our history by setting aside a particular day each year as a “National Day of Prayer.” Since 1952, each President has proclaimed an annual National Day of Prayer, resuming the tradition begun by our Founding Fathers in 1776. By Public Law 100-307, the first Thursday in May of each year has been set aside as a National Day of Prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 1993, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon the citizens of this great Nation to pray, each after his or her own manner, to remember those who are in need, to achieve patience in tribulation, to resolve the problems that divide us, to rejoice in hope, and to express thanks for the abundance we have experienced throughout our history.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.

Proclamation 6566 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1993
May 28, 1993

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Each spring, our Nation pauses to remember those who have died securing our peace and freedom. Across our country, Americans are holding ceremonies in remembrance of those who have died under the colors of our Nation. We remember the brave men and women whose sacrifices have paved the way for us to live in a country like America. We remember the families of our fallen heroes, and we grieve for their losses. And we remember the men and women who are now serving in our Armed Forces.

In the war with Iraq and more recently in our peacekeeping operations in Somalia, more names of young Americans have been added to the roster of our departed heroes. Young service men and women who died in the Persian Gulf joined Americans who left their mark on history at places like the Argonne in World War I, Omaha Beach in World War II, and Pork Chop Hill in Korea, and in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam.

Through two centuries and several wars, America has remained the land of the free and the home of the brave. The Persian Gulf war reaffirmed that international peace and security depend on our Nation’s vigilance and on the sacrifices of our service men and women. Even in this post-Cold War era, we must be wary, for the world still remains a dangerous place.

By showing our understanding, we can help further the sense of lives well lived, a time on earth well spent, and a heritage of service of lasting meaning.

In respect and recognition of those Americans to whom we pay tribute today, the Congress, by joint resolution of May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Memorial Day, May 31, 1993, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 o’clock in the morning of that day as a time to unite in prayer. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to cooperate in this observance.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon during this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and I request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

 

Proclamation 6668 – National Day of Prayer, 1994
April 12, 1994
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

In a country built by people from hundreds of nations and with as many beliefs, we rely upon our religious liberty in order to preserve the individuality and great diversity that give our Nation its unique richness and strength of character. America’s founders saw the urgent need to protect religious freedom and opened debate on the important subject when the Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia to chart a course for our nascent country. After hearing Massachusetts delegate Samuel Adams’ plea, the Congress voted to begin its session with a prayer. When the framers of the Bill of Rights set down our fundamental rights, the free exercise of religion rightfully took its place at the head of our enumerated liberties.

As our Nation has grown and flourished, our Government has welcomed divine guidance in its work, while respecting the rich and varied faiths of all of its citizens. Many of our greatest leaders have asked God’s favor in public and private prayer. From patriots and presidents to advocates for justice, our history reflects the strong presence of prayer in American life. Presidents, above all, need the power of prayer, their own and that of all Americans.

We need not shrink as Americans from asking for divine assistance in our continuing efforts to relieve human suffering at home and abroad, to reduce hatred, violence, and abuse, and to restore families across our land. By following our own beliefs while respecting the convictions of others, we can strengthen our people and rebuild our Nation. As Micah reminds us, we must strive “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly” before God.

The Congress, by joint resolution approved April 17, 1952, having recognized the role of faith and prayer in the lives of the American people throughout our history, has set aside a day each year as a “National Day of Prayer.” Since that time, each President has proclaimed an annual National Day of Prayer, resuming the tradition begun by our leaders in the Nation’s earliest days. Pursuant to Public Law 100–307 of May 5, 1988, the first Thursday of each May has been set aside as a National Day of Prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 5, 1994, as a National Day of Prayer. I encourage the citizens of this great Nation to gather, each in his or her own manner, to recognize our blessings, acknowledge our wrongs, to remember the needy, to seek guidance for our challenging future, and to give thanks for the abundance we have enjoyed throughout our history.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this

twelfth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.

 

Proclamation 6696 – Prayer For Peace, Memorial Day, 1994
May 30, 1994

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Each year as summer approaches, we pause to honor the memory of those who died in service to our Nation. Even though the Cold War is over, there are still reminders—past and present—that the price of peace can be very dear indeed. One reminder, engraved in the stone memorial at the Omaha Beach Cemetery, eloquently states, “To these we owe our highest resolve, that the cause for which they died, shall live.” Whether at Valley Forge or in the skies above Iraq, this tribute poignantly expresses the gratitude felt by all Americans as we remember the men and women in uniform who made the supreme sacrifice.

Each year, on the last Monday in May, we pause to pray for peace and to pay homage to those who have died defending our liberties, service men and women from all generations and from all wars. But this year, Memorial Day especially recalls those Americans who helped change the course of history and helped preserve a world in which the ideals of freedom and individual rights could flourish. One week from today, on June 6, we will observe the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. On that day in 1944, the world witnessed perhaps the greatest military action in history—and the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany’s stranglehold on Europe.

The passage of 50 years has seen the birth of new generations of Americans who know of D-Day only from their history lessons. Fifty years may have dimmed the memories of some who were alive during World War II, but we need only look at those “reminders” of the price of freedom to understand what happened on that day 50 years ago.

Anzio, Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, and Normandy—each is an unforgettable chapter in our Nation’s history. Each is a name that invokes memories of patriotism and valor, of teamwork and sacrifice.

Each reminds us that our Nation was founded on the belief that our democratic ideals are worth fighting for and, if necessary, worth dying for. We have a sacred obligation to remember for all time the names and the deeds of the Americans who paid that price for all of us.

In respect and recognition of those courageous men and women to whom we pay tribute today, the Congress, by joint resolution of May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 30, 1994, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 o’clock in the morning of that day as a time to unite in prayer. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to cooperate in this observance.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff during this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds,

and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and I request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

 

Proclamation 6777 – National Day of Prayer, 1995
March 14, 1995
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Our Nation was built on the steadfast foundation of the prayers of our ancestors. In times of blessing and crisis, stability and change, thanksgiving and repentance, appeals for Divine direction have helped the citizens of the United States to remain faithful to our long-standing commitment to life, liberty, and justice for all.

This reliance on spiritual assistance has especially characterized times of national transition and uncertainty. As our country was ravaged by the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln remarked, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.” And with him, millions of slaves cried out to the Almighty for an end to their suffering.

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass said this about the spiritual songs sung on the plantations: “Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains.” Since that time, we have witnessed tremendous improvements in relations between people of all races and backgrounds. Indeed, long ago, through the work of prayer and common effort, and with the inspiration of the Creator, we began to turn the tide in this Nation from divisiveness and recrimination toward reconciliation and healing.

Let us not forget those painful lessons of our past, but continue to seek the guidance of God in all the affairs of our Nation. We must not become complacent, but rather press onward for the protection of the vulnerable and the downtrodden. In the words of President Lincoln, “it behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and pray for clemency and forgiveness” for any injustice we perceive in our midst. May we, the people of this country, set a steady course, dedicated to respect for one another and for individual freedom.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, has called on our citizens to reaffirm annually our dependence on Almighty God by recognizing a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 4, 1995, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon every citizen of this great Nation to gather together on that day to pray, each in his or her own manner, for God’s continued guidance and blessing.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and nineteenth.

 

Proclamation 6802 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1995
May 18, 1995

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

The essence of America is the quality and breadth of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Yet far too often in our country’s history, the price of preserving these freedoms has been the lives of our Nation’s young men and women and the heartbreak of their families and friends. The light and laughter of our lost sons and daughters can never be replaced. But the gift of their courage will always endure. America remembers the sacrifices of those who gave their lives to protect our liberty. For our citizens and for freedom-loving people around the world, they have kept democracy’s flame burning brightly.

Forged in revolution and tempered by more than two centuries of fighting injustice, America has grown stronger, determined to safeguard the blessings that have been so hard-won. As we recall the selfless devotion of those who have risen to defend the cause of freedom, we resolve today that their efforts shall not have been in vain. America still holds fast to the principles upon which it was founded, and its people still stand bound together by our common faith in peace. In remembrance of our fallen heroes, we pray that peace will forever grace our land, that it will guide relations between citizens and friendships among nations, and that our people will one day see a time when harmony fills the Earth.

May God comfort all who mourn.

In respect and recognition of the courageous men and women to whom we pay tribute, the Congress, by joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 29, 1995, as a day of prayer for permanent peace. I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 o’clock in the morning of that day as a time to join in prayer. I urge the press, radio, television, and all information media to take part in this observance.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon during this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and I request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and nineteenth.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

 

Proclamation 6877 – National Day of Prayer, 1996
April 2, 1996
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

America’s heritage is rich with expressions of faith in God. Indeed, the desire for religious freedom was one of the chief reasons that early settlers risked their lives to come to this land. Many of those who braved the long ocean journey were men and women of devout religious beliefs who sought a new home where they might worship without persecution. The authors of our Constitution recognized this history in the language of the first amendment, and through times of uncertainty, sorrow, and pain, the citizens of the United States have called upon the wisdom and mercy of the Almighty for guidance and strength.

A National Day of Prayer, first proclaimed by the Continental Congress in 1775, stems from the understanding that faith is a fundamental part of our Nation’s social fabric. In an impassioned speech before the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin put the importance of prayer in perspective, proposing that “. . . prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business . . . .” And so it has been to this day in statehouses all over our great land.

Today we cherish the liberties the first immigrants fought so hard to obtain, and we enjoy a degree of freedom and prosperity only dreamed of 200 years ago. And though our citizens come from every nation on Earth and observe an extraordinary variety of religious faith and traditions, prayer remains at the heart of the American spirit. We face many of the same challenges as our forebears—ensuring the survival of freedom and sustaining faith in an often hostile world—and we continue to pray, as they did, for the blessings of a just and benevolent God to guide our Nation’s course.

This occasion calls us to affirm our country’s spiritual roots and to humbly express our gratitude to the source of our abundant good fortune. As we seek to renew the values that have long strengthened America’s families and communities, let us reach out to God and to one another for wisdom and courage. We should celebrate this day in the tradition of our founders who believed that God governs in the affairs of men and women, and who based their greatest hopes, dreams, and aspirations on the surety of divine protection.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, has called on our citizens to reaffirm annually our dependence on Almighty God by recognizing a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 2, 1996, as a National Day of Prayer. I encourage every citizen of this great Nation to pray, each in his or her own manner, seeking strength from God to face the challenges of today, requesting guidance for the uncertainties of tomorrow, and giving thanks for the rich blessings that our Nation has enjoyed throughout our history. “Do not pray for easy lives,” said John F. Kennedy in 1963, “Pray to be stronger . . . .” May it be so with each of us.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twentieth.

 

Proclamation 6901 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1996
May 24, 1996

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On the last Monday of May each year, our Nation takes time to remember those who have given their lives to safeguard America’s freedom. Courageous and loyal citizens have died on battlefields around the world in defense of the United States, our interests, and our values, thus ensuring more than two centuries of independence and a society based on individual rights. Their selflessness demands our profound gratitude and calls us to consider anew the awesome price of liberty.

On this special day, let us reflect upon the supreme sacrifice made by our fellow citizens lost in battle. All were proud members of our national community, and all perished while protecting our country’s honor and the American way of life. Let us share in the grief of the families whose loved ones remain unaccounted for or fell while defending this great Nation. And let us pray, each in our own way, for peace throughout this land and across the globe. As beneficiaries of the freedoms our troops secured, we can best pay tribute to their deeds by leaving to future generations an America that continues to be a beacon of justice and freedom for people everywhere.

In respect and recognition of the courageous men and women to whom we pay tribute, the Congress, by joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the American people might unite in prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 27, 1996, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to join in prayer. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to take part in this observance.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff during this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and I request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twentieth.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

Proclamation 6991 – National Day of Prayer, 1997
April 18, 1997
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

America was born out of intense conflict as our forefathers fought the forces of oppression and tyranny. From our earliest history, Americans have always looked to God for strength and encouragement in those moments when darkness seemed to encroach from every side. Our people have always believed in the power of prayer and have called upon the name of the Lord through times of peace and war, hope and despair, prosperity and decline.

In his first inaugural address, during the rush of optimism that followed the Colonies’ uplifting victory in the American Revolution, George Washington observed that “it would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe.” Amid the bleak turmoil of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln conveyed similar sentiments by calling Americans to “a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land.” Almost a century later, Harry Truman emphasized the need for God’s help in making decisions: “when we are striving to strengthen the foundation of peace and security we stand in special need of divine support.”

Indeed, the familiar phrase “In God we trust,” which has been our national motto for more than 40 years and which first appeared on our coinage during the Civil War, is a fitting testimony to the prayers offered up by American women and men through the centuries. Today within our Nation’s Capitol Building, a stained glass window depicts General Washington humbly kneeling and repeating the words of the 16th Psalm, “Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust.”

As we face the last years of the 20th century, let us uphold the tradition of observing a day in which every American, in his or her own way, may come before God seeking increased peace, guidance, and wisdom for the challenges ahead. Even as we continue to work toward hopeful solutions, may our national resolve be matched by a firm reliance on the Author of our lives—for truly it is in God that we trust.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, has called our citizens to reaffirm annually our dependence on Almighty God by recognizing a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 1997, as a National Day of Prayer. As in previous years, let us once again celebrate this day in the tradition of our Founders by humbly asking for divine help in maintaining the courage, determination, faith, and vigilance so necessary to our continued advancement as a people. On this National Day of Prayer, may all Americans come together to reaffirm our reliance upon our Creator, and, in the words of Franklin Roosevelt, to “pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly.”

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-first.

Proclamation 7006 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1997
May 22, 1997

 

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

The observance of Memorial Day is one of America’s noblest traditions. At its core lies the most basic of the beliefs on which our Nation was founded: that freedom is so precious it is worth the price of our lives to preserve it.

Throughout our history, we have been blessed by the courage and commitment of Americans who were willing to pay that price, and more than 1.3 million of them have died for our Nation. From Lexington and Concord to Iwo Jima and the Persian Gulf, on fields of battle across America and around the world, our men and women in uniform have risked—and lost—their lives to protect America’s interests, to advance the ideals of democracy, and to defend the liberty we hold so dear.

This spirit of selfless sacrifice is an unbroken thread woven through our history. Wherever they came from, whenever they served, our fallen heroes knew they were fighting to preserve our freedom. On Memorial Day we remember them, and we acknowledge that we stand as a great, proud, and free Nation because of their devotion.

But this is not the only day on which we honor their service and sacrifice. Whenever we lend our hearts and hands and voices to the work of peace in the world, whenever we show respect for the flag, cast a vote in an election, or exercise our freedoms of speech, assembly, and worship, we honor our fellow Americans who guaranteed those freedoms with their lives.

In respect and recognition of these courageous men and women, the Congress, by joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), requested that the President issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memo rial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the American people might unite in prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 26, 1997, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to join in prayer. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to take part in this observance.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff during this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and I request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-first.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

Proclamation 7088 – National Day of Prayer, 1998
April 29, 1998
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

In every era of American history, devout men and women from every nation have come to our shores seeking the freedom to worship according to their own conscience. Recognizing the sacredness of this fundamental human right, our founders wisely guaranteed it in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Prayer has always been an integral part of American life. In every city, town, and rural community across our country, people of every religious denomination gather to worship according to their faith. In churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques, Americans come together to pray. We pray for the health and happiness of loved ones; for inner peace and peace among nations; and for the wisdom and courage to face the challenges of the new millennium. And always we raise our voices and hearts in prayers of thanksgiving for the blessing of freedom.

Just as Americans rely on prayer for strength and renewal in private life, so do we turn to it at moments of great joy or crisis in our public life as a Nation. Meeting in Philadelphia to make the momentous decisions that would ultimately determine the nature and form of American Government, the Continental Congress began daily deliberations with a prayer for God’s blessings and assistance. In his first inaugural address, President George Washington also prayed for guidance from the Almighty as he began the enormous task of leading a new, untried democracy.

In this century, with America in the throes of the Great Depression and a world teetering on the brink of war, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt concluded his first inaugural address with a fervent prayer: “In this dedication of a Nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come.” And today, as we look ahead to the promise of a new century, Americans continue to draw strength from the bedrock of faith and religious freedom upon which our democracy rests.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the religious diversity our freedom permits by recognizing annually a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 7, 1998, as a National Day of Prayer. I encourage the citizens of this great Nation to pray, each in his or her own manner, seeking strength from God to face the problems of today, requesting guidance for the uncertainties of tomorrow, and giving thanks for the rich blessings that our country has enjoyed throughout our history.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.

 

Proclamation 7099 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1998
May 22, 1998

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Today Americans live in a time of great hope. Our Nation is free, prosperous, and at peace. While very real dangers and problems still exist in the world, the Cold War is over, democracy is sweeping the globe, and old adversaries are forming new partnerships.

But the blessings we enjoy today are not the happy accidents of history; they are the culmination of promises kept by generations of young Americans and paid for by their courage and sacrifice. The promise of freedom articulated in our Declaration of Independence was made real by a ragtag army of brave Americans who were prepared to die for their convictions. The promise of unity was kept during the Civil War by thousands of Americans, black and white, who were willing to fight to preserve our Union. The promise of democracy was kept by the hundreds of thousands of Americans who fought and died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf. On home soil and in foreign lands, lost at sea or brought down from the skies, our young men and women in uniform have given their lives to keep their promise to America: to defend our freedom, to preserve our values, and to advance the ideals of democracy.

On Memorial Day, we have our own promises to keep. We remember and honor all those gallant Americans who, in the eloquent words of President Lincoln, “gave the last full measure of devotion” for the well-being of our Nation and their fellow citizens. We express our profound sympathy and gratitude to the families who have so freely given their sons and daughters in service to America. We promise to keep faith with all those who have died for our country by remaining vigilant in our defense of freedom and democracy. And we promise always to work for permanent peace in the world so that a new generation of Americans will never have to know the horrors of war.

In respect and recognition of the courageous men and women to whom we pay tribute, the Congress, by joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the American people might unite in prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 25, 1998, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning at 3:00 p.m. EDT of that day as a time to join in prayer. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to take part in this observance.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff during this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and I request people of the United states to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

Statement on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
November 14, 1998

On this International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, I want to reaffirm my administration’s strong commitment to religious freedom around the world.

Today, in solidarity with millions of people at home and abroad, we pray for those who suffer for their beliefs—a suffering forewarned by Scripture: “. . . they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you . . . [you will be] brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.” But with this warning comes the promise, “I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to deny or resist.” (Luke 21:12).

My administration worked closely with Members of Congress and the U.S. religious community to secure passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which is an important addition to our ongoing efforts to make the promotion of religious freedom a national priority and an integral part of our foreign policy.

On this day, when we keep in our thoughts the noble struggle for religious freedom of people of all backgrounds, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Baha’i, or of any other faith, we remember the words of the American Founding Father James Madison, who called religious liberty the “luster of our country.” And we pray that our devotion to religious tolerance will serve as a beacon for all people everywhere who yearn for spiritual freedom.

 

Proclamation 7194 – National Day of Prayer, 1999
May 5, 1999
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

From our earliest days, whether in times of joy or of challenge, Americans have raised their hearts and voices in prayer. On the Great Plains, American Indians prayed for peace and for blessings upon their children and their friends. The Pilgrims prayed from the moment they first set foot on this continent. Our Nation’s founders prayed as they forged a democracy based on freedom and respect for human rights. Our military leaders and the millions of men and women who have served in our Armed Forces have prayed in the midst of every conflict in which our Nation has fought. And so it continues to this day, as Americans of every race, background, and creed pray in churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and their own homes for guidance, wisdom, and courage in confronting the challenges before us.

We can pray openly thanks to the religious freedom guaranteed for us by the First Amendment to the Constitution. That freedom and the diversity of faiths it has fostered are among America’s most important achievements. They have made our Nation a beacon for generations of people from around the world who have traveled here seeking to worship according to their conscience without fear of coercion or constraint.

On this National Day of Prayer, observed so soon after the tragedy in Littleton, Colorado, and the tornadoes that devastated communities in Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, we are more keenly aware than ever of the power and solace we find in prayer. Throughout the days that have followed the deaths of and injury to so many of our fellow citizens, Americans have united in prayer for those who died or were harmed, for the comfort and peace of their families, for the wisdom to heal our society, and for the strength to overcome such tragedies. For as Martin Luther King, Jr., so eloquently said, “When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe . . . a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.”

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the religious diversity our freedom permits by recognizing annually a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 1999, as a National Day of Prayer. I encourage the citizens of this great Nation to pray, each in his or her own manner, seeking strength from God to face the problems of today, requesting guidance for the uncertainties of tomorrow, and giving thanks for the rich blessings that our country has enjoyed throughout its history.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third.

Proclamation 7201 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1999
May 26, 1999

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

The challenges to our Nation’s peace and freedom are as old as American history and as new as today’s headlines. They have taken many forms through the years, from the bitter discord of civil war at home to the aggression of tyrants abroad. But the price of peace and freedom has always remained the same: the service and sacrifice of our young men and women in uniform.

Looking back across the decades, we marvel at the valor and determination of these gallant Americans who, in each generation, have stepped forward to preserve our freedom, defend our democracy, uphold our ideals, and protect our interests. The battles in which they fought and died—Brandywine, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Belleau Wood, Coral Sea, Inchon, Khe Sahn—are a testament to uncommon courage and indomitable spirit. Those who survived were forever changed. Those who died stay forever young in their loved ones’ memories. Their final thought most likely were of home and family; their final actions purchased the freedom we enjoy today.

Now, on Memorial Day, our thoughts turn to them. We remember with profound gratitude those who took to the seas and skies in moments of peril for our Nation. We remember those who marched through mud or rice paddies, snow or sand, because they knew, as President Eisenhower reminded us, that “a soldier’s pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner’s chains” and that true peace is won only by those willing to die for it. We remember those in the Normandy American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach who, 55 years ago, relit the torch of freedom in a war-weary Europe. We remember those whose final resting place is unknown, but whose sacrifice is known to us all. The passing of time and the blessings of peace and prosperity can never make us forget what these brave Americans endured and what they lost so that right would triumph, freedom would survive, and our Nation would prevail.

In honor of all the courageous men and women who gave their lives in defense of our Nation and our fundamental ideals, I ask that every American say a prayer for lasting peace on this Memorial Day. I ask that every American remember our heroic war dead in some special way, whether by placing flowers on a veteran’s grave, lighting a candle, observing a moment of silence, or saying a prayer of thanks. While we can never fully repay our debt to America’s fallen warriors, we can remember their service and honor their sacrifice.

In respect and recognition of the courageous men and women to whom we pay tribute, the Congress, by joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the American people might unite in prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 31, 1999, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning at 3:00 p.m. EDT of that day as a time to join in prayer. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to take part in this observance.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and I request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

 

Message on the Observance of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
November 10, 1999

Warm greetings to all those observing the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

Throughout my Presidency, I have strived to promote the cause of international religious freedom. I am proud that my Administration has completed the first phase outlined in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. In September, we published the first annual report on the status of religious freedom worldwide; and in October, we publicly designated the most severe violators of religious freedom.

On this special occasion, we pause to reflect on the importance of religious freedom and the profound role that religion continues to play in the lives of citizens around the world. Throughout human history, religion has helped countless individuals address profound questions about life and the universe. Across the globe, in places large and small, we have seen the resilience and depth of the human desire to worship freely.

We have also seen in our communities and in other nations around the world the violence and human tragedy spawned by hatred, intolerance, and fear born of ignorance—even ignorance of one another’s religion. But religion encourages us to recognize our capacity for forgiveness and love. On this sacred day, we pray most fervently to Almighty God to change the hearts of those who persecute others and to help us in building just communities united in understanding, compassion, and mutual respect.

Best wishes to all for a blessed observance.

BILL CLINTON

Prayer at Christmas II: Holy Eucharist Services
January 2, 2000

The President. Gathered in the spirit of truth and hope, in unity and peace, at the beginning of the new year, the dawn of a new century, and at the turn of the third millennium, let us offer before God our prayers and thanksgivings.

We give You thanks, O God, for the goodness and love You have made known to us in creation. You fill the world with beauty. Open our eyes to see Your handiwork in all creation and in one another.

Audience members. We thank You and praise You, O God.

The First Lady. We give You thanks, O God, for Your church throughout the world, and for religious faith and freedom in this country. Grant that all who seek You by many names may be united in Your truth, live together in Your love, and reveal Your glory in the world.

Audience members. We thank You and praise You, O God.

The President. We give You thanks, O God, for our Nation; for the gifts of liberty, freedom, and peace; for the women and men who have made this country strong. Give us, like them, a zeal for justice and truth, and grant that we and all the people of this land may, by Your grace, be strengthened to maintain our liberties and righteousness and peace.

Audience members. We thank You and praise You, O God.

The First Lady. We pray also for the world, for the leaders of the nations and for those who strive and work for peace, that all swords may be turned into plowshares and none may hurt or destroy.

Audience members. We thank You and praise You, O God.

The President. We give You thanks, O God, for creating all humanity in Your image, for the wonderful diversity of Your children, of Your races and creeds, cultures and tongues. Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship, and show us Your presence in those who differ most from us.

Audience members. We thank You and praise You, O God.

The First Lady. In offering You thanks, O God, we become aware of our failings and shortcomings. Time after time, we fail to strive for the vision and world You hold out to us. We do not honor one another. We abuse Your creation. We take for granted our resources, and we fail to recognize Your gracious hand in the harvests of land and sea. Grant us a respect for your whole world.

Audience members. Forgive us, heal us, and restore us, O God.

The President. Time after time, O God, we fail to follow Your ways and to live up to the hopes of our Founding Fathers and Mothers. We turn from the path of justice and peace to follow the way of hatred and anger. So move our hearts that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease, and that, in Your wisdom and love, we may live with our world family in true justice and peace.

Audience members. Forgive us, heal us, and restore us, O God.

The First Lady. Time after time, O God, we hoard the bounty of Your goodness. We store up goods for ourselves and ignore the cry of the poor and hungry. We store up liberty and justice for ourselves and ignore the cry of the oppressed. Look with favor upon the people of this and every land who live with injustice, terror, poverty, disease, and death, and grant that we who are so richly blessed may, with Your help, respond with costly love and compassion.

Audience members. Forgive us, heal us, and restore us, O God.

The President. Let us pray.

Dear Lord, as we awaken to this second morning of a new millennium, help us to remember that all we are and all we do begins with You, for whom a thousand years are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

So we begin this jubilee year in humility, with profound thanks for the divine light first revealed 2,000 years ago that has brought us now to this sacred place today. Each in our own way, we thank You for the blessings of this life. For me and my family, I give You thanks for good health, good fortune, and the opportunity to serve the American people.

We thank You for the amazing grace You have shown in getting us through and beyond our individual and collective sins and trials. Through the darkest hours of the 20th century, the shameful trauma of racial oppression, the pain and sacrifice of war, the fear and deprivation of depression, when all we could do was walk by faith, it was Your guiding light that saw us through.

We thank You for the promise of the new century and ask Your guidance and grace in helping us to make the most of it; to free our children of hunger, neglect, and war; to ease the burdens of the less fortunate; to strengthen the bonds of family; to preserve and protect our earthly home; to use new advances in science and technology to lift all the human family and draw us all closer together.

Finally, we thank You for the rich and wonderful diversity of human life with which You have graced this planet and ask You to give us the strength and wisdom to give up our fear, distrust, and hatred of those who are different. Teach us instead to learn from each other and celebrate our differences, secure in the knowledge that we are all Your children.

Our Constitution tells us You created us all equal. Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. The Koran says we must do unto all men as you wish to have done to you and reject for others what you would reject for yourself. The Talmud instructs us, should anyone turn aside the right of the stranger, it is as though he were to turn aside the right of the most high God.

By Your grace, we have survived in spite of our blindness to this, Your truth. Help us now to accept at long last the enduring truth that the most important fact of life is not wealth or power or beauty or scientific advance but our kinship as brothers and sisters and our oneness as children of God.

This, Holy Father, is our prayer for the new millennium.

Audience members. Amen.

Proclamation 7303 – National Day of Prayer, 2000
May 4, 2000
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans have come before God with humble hearts to ask forgiveness, to seek wisdom, and to offer thanksgiving and praise. The framers of our democracy, on a quest for freedom and equality, were fueled by an abiding faith in a just and loving God, to whom they turned often for guidance and strength.

Succeeding generations of Americans, striving to preserve that freedom in the face of challenges posed by enemies abroad or conflict at home, also turned their hearts and minds to God in prayer. Today, whether celebrating the special moments in our lives, searching for strength and meaning in the face of problems or grief, or simply giving thanks for the blessing of a new day, Americans continue to use the powerful medium of prayer.

Now more than ever, Americans treasure our religious freedom, which embraces the many diverse communities of faith that have infused our society and our cultural heritage through more than two centuries. Millions of Americans gratefully sustain the tradition of prayer in churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other houses of worship across our country.

And we continue to rely on our faith as a pillar of strength, even in this era of unprecedented peace and prosperity. We pray for the spirit of reconciliation, so that we may overcome the divisions of race, religion, culture, and background that have scarred our society in recent years. We pray for the spirit of compassion so that we will reach out to others who have not shared equally in this world’s bounteous blessings–those here at home who struggle for economic and educational opportunity and those around the globe whose lives have been darkened by the shadows of poverty, oppression, natural disaster, or disease. And we must always pray for wisdom–the wisdom to raise children with strong values and loving hearts; the wisdom to live in harmony with our environment and to preserve its health and beauty for the benefit of future generations; and the wisdom to keep America the world’s greatest hope for freedom, peace, and human dignity in the 21st century.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the religious diversity our freedom permits by recognizing annually a “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 4, 2000, as a National Day of Prayer. I encourage the citizens of this great Nation to pray, each in his or her own manner, seeking strength from God to face today’s challenges, seeking guidance for tomorrow’s uncertainties, and giving thanks for the rich blessings that our country has enjoyed throughout its history.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fourth.

Proclamation 7315 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2000
May 26, 2000

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

For many Americans, Memorial Day has come to signify the beginning of summer, the opening of the neighborhood pool, and a time for picnics and barbecues. In the midst of these festivities, however, we can too often overlook the holiday’s true meaning. Memorial Day was first observed in 1868 in remembrance of those who died in the Civil War; since then our Nation has set this day aside as a solemn occasion on which to pay tribute to all the men and women who have died in service to our country.

Throughout our Nation’s history, brave Americans have donned our country’s uniform to defend our freedom and uphold our values, often far from home and in the face of grave danger. From the battles of the Revolutionary War through the epic struggles of World Wars I and II to today’s peacekeeping missions in a world with sophisticated weapons and terrorist threats, the men and women of our Armed Forces have served with skill and courage. While the challenges they face have changed with each passing year, their devotion to duty and to country has remained steadfast.

For more than a million Americans, that devotion cost them their lives but secured for us priceless freedom, peace, and security. While we should remember these patriots every day for the profound contribution they have made to our Nation, we should honor them with special gratitude on Memorial Day.

This year, to reaffirm the true meaning of Memorial Day, we begin a new tradition by observing a “National Moment of Remembrance.” I ask all Americans to unite on Memorial Day in acknowledging the service of America’s fallen heroes. Let us reflect on the profound debt we owe to those brave men and women who gave their lives for our Nation, and let us teach current and future generations that our freedom, peace, and prosperity were achieved only through the sacrifice of those who came before them.

In recognition of those courageous Americans, the Congress, by joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the American people might unite in prayer. In support of the new tradition of a National Moment of Remembrance, the Congress has passed H.Con.Res. 302 calling on the people of the United States to observe a National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 29, 2000, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as the time to join in prayer and to observe the National Moment of Remembrance. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other media to participate in this observance.

I also request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control, and I request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fourth.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

 

 

National Day of Prayer

 

Prayer Breakfasts – Bill Clinton

blessing 4

 

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