National Day of Prayer – George Bush

National Day of Prayer – George Bush

US Pres. George Bush & wife Barbara bowing heads w. closed eyes in prayer at Sunday church service, at Camp David. (Photo by Carol T. Powers/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
US Pres. George Bush & wife Barbara bowing heads w. closed eyes in prayer at Sunday church service, at Camp David. (Photo by Carol T. Powers/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Proclamation 5936 – National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, 1989
January 20, 1989

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On this Bicentennial of the Presidency of the United States of America, it is fitting to recall our first President, George Washington, who believed in our country’s divine destiny. He said, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States.”

As we celebrate this American Bicentennial Presidential Inaugural, we celebrate America’s brotherhood — our common ideals, our common kinship, our national unity. We celebrate America as “one nation under God.”

As I assume the office of President, I am humbled before God and seek his counsel and favor on our land, and join with our first President who said, “. . . it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe. . . that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States, a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes.”

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 22, 1989, a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving and call upon the citizens of our great Nation to gather together on this day in homes and places of worship to pray in thanksgiving for our blessings of peace, freedom, prosperity, and Independence. Let all Americans kneel humbly before our Heavenly Father in search of his counsel and for his divine guidance and wisdom upon the leaders of the United States of America.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.
Proclamation 5942 – National Day of Prayer, 1989
March 17, 1989

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans have been a prayerful people, giving thanks to our Creator for the blessings of liberty and seeking His help and guidance in preserving them.

Those who braved the long ocean journey from Europe to first settle in the American colonies were men and women of varied, but equally devout, religious beliefs. Many had been persecuted for those beliefs at home, and they sought a new land where they might be able to worship freely. Years later, our forefathers would clearly remember this and begin our Bill of Rights with the guarantee that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

But it was not just the experience of their ancestors that led the Founding Fathers to shape a free and democratic government for our Nation. On the contrary, their view of the rights of man and the proper role of government were derived from their firm faith in God. They believed that all men are created equal, “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Any system of government they established must guarantee individual liberty and equality before the law, for freedom is the God-given right of all men. Calling for daily prayer at the Constitutional Convention, a number of delegates expressed their conviction that only with divine guidance would the new democracy be true and successful. “If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice,” observed Benjamin Franklin, “is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” Dr. Frankling knew that human wisdom alone could neither build nor keep a free and just government.

As our first President, George Washington would continue to pray for guidance from “that powerful Friend” invoked by Ben Franklin. “I shall take my present leave,” said the new President, “but not without resorting once more to that benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that . . . His blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations and the wise measures on which the success of this government must depend.” Immediately after his Inauguration, President Washington made his way with the Congress through the crowds of well-wishers from Federal Hall to Saint Paul’s chapel. There a prayer service was offered by the Chaplain of Congress for our new Nation.

The great faith that led our Nation’s Founding Fathers to pursue this bold experiment in self-government has sustained us in uncertain and perilous times; it has given us strength and inspriation to this very day. Like them, we do well to recall our “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” to give thanks for the freedom and prosperity this Nation enjoys, and to pray for continued help and guidance from our wise and loving Creator. For what President Washington wrote 200 years ago remains true today: “the liberty enjoyed by the people of these States, of worshipping Almighty God agreeably to their consciences, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights.”

Since the approval of the joint resolution of the Congress on April 17, 1952, calling for the designation of a specific day to be set aside each year as a National Day of Prayer, recognition of such a day has become a cherished annual event. Each President since then has proclaimed a National Day of Prayer annually under the authority of that resolution, continuing a tradition that actually dates back to the Continental Congress, which issued the first official proclamation for a National Day of Prayer on July 12, 1775. 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, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 4, 1989, as a National Day of Prayer. I invite the people 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 in the hearts of all mankind.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.

 

Proclamation 5985 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1989
May 22, 1989

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

On Memorial Day, we pause to remember and to pray for those Americans who died while defending the grace and freedom we enjoy every day of the year. On this day, we recall with solemn pride the places where these departed heroes made their final stand for the cause of human rights and individual liberty — the Argonne, Omaha Beach, Pork Chop Hill, and a hundred rice paddies and jungles in Vietnam.

We also recall the heroes who have perished in more recent times, such as the soldiers who liberated Grenada and the Marines who fell to terrorist attacks in Beirut and other cities around the world. With the tragic loss still fresh in our minds, we remember the men of turret number two aboard the USS IOWA, the six sailors on the USS WHITE PLAINS, and the two crewmen on the USS AMERICA who were recently killed in the line of duty. Like the brave and selfless Americans who have gone before them, these young men were willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect our national security.

Across the country, Americans are participating in special ceremonies or pausing privately to pray for those who died while serving this great Nation. Some of us had close personal ties to the men and women we honor today; all of us are bound to them by a lasting debt of gratitude.

Today, we continue the Memorial Day tradition of expressing our appreciation for the veterans who died for a cause they considered more important than life itself. They did not serve in order to die; they served so that others might dwell in freedom. These veterans defended the lives of innocent people and helped to preserve a way of life — one that cherishes and protects the God-given rights of all. Their time on earth was well spent.

On Memorial Day, we give thanks for the great blessings of freedom and peace and for the generations of Americans who have won them for us. We also pray for the same strength and moral resolve demonstrated by these hallowed veterans, as well as for the true and lasting peace found in a world where liberty and justice prevail.

In respect and recognition of those Americans to whom we pay tribut today, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has request 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 designation a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Memorial Day, May 29, 1989, as a day or 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 direct all appropriate Federal officials and request the Governors of the several 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 on this day for the customary forenoon period.

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

GEORGE BUSH

 

Proclamation 6104 – National Day of Prayer, 1990
March 6, 1990
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,” wrote Lord Tennyson more than a century ago. Today, we are deeply mindful of the truth of his words. Our Nation’s history and the lives of millions of men and women around the world provide compelling evidence of the power of faith and the efficacy of prayer.

The Bible tells us what we have often seen for ourselves: that God answers the prayers of those who place their trust in Him. In the Old Testament story of Hannah and Samuel and the New Testament parable of the Prodigal Son, we find a universal experience of parenthood: long hours spent in waiting for a child and in prayer for his well-being. What mother or father has not, in unspoken thought, asked the Almighty to protect his or her little ones and thanked Him for their safekeeping?

Our ancestors believed that, in the lives of nations as well as individuals, the love of God is a great parental love like this. They saw history as the place where our Creator looks for His children, longing for them to come to Him and to do His will. As they fashioned a system of government that would carry the United States into an uncharted future, as they fled oppressed and war-torn nations to build new lives in this land of opportunity, as they shielded the spark of hope from the cold winds of tyranny and world war, time and again they came, thankful and contrite, to the inextinguishable light of the Father’s house.

So great was the faith of our Founding Fathers, and so firm was their belief in the need for God’s blessing upon their bold experiment in self-government, that they frequently turned to Him in prayer both as individuals and as a community. Indeed, the first act of the Continental Congress, the same body that declared America’s independence, was a prayer. Thomas Jefferson and other Founders believed that the God Who gives us life gives us liberty as well, and if the American people are to keep a truly free and democratic government, they must acknowledge their dependence on His mercy and guidance. Thus, when they pledged to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in support of the Declaration of Independence, they did so “with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence.” When the Framers of our Constitution heeded Ben Franklin’s call for daily prayer at the Federal Convention in 1787, it is as if they were profoundly aware of the gentle admonition found in the 127th Psalm: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

Today, we do well to place in God’s hands our hopes and concerns for our families and our communities, just as our Nation’s Founders entrusted their labors to Him. The childhood of our liberty was guarded by the love of God, and the “new birth of freedom” of which President Lincoln spoke was possible only because that love was faithful to a people bitterly divided by civil war. Today, our liberty is older and our Republic has entered its third century, but we are still, as a people, in the infancy of our journey. So much greater is our need now to turn to God in prayer once again, seeking His blessing for the way that lies ahead.

On this National Day of Prayer, observed more than 200 years after the Continental Congress asked for God’s blessing upon our young country, our prayers could have no better object than the safety and well-being of our children. It is for them that we labor and sacrifice, and it is for them that we struggle to uphold the noble ideals affirmed at our Nation’s birth. Today, amidst our many blessings, we see the destruction of too many lives in their earliest flower — too many young minds lost to drugs, delinquency, and despair. The suffering or loss of even one of these children is more than any parent can bear, and it is more than our Nation can afford to tolerate.

I therefore ask my fellow Americans to join with me in prayer for our children. Let us strive to help each of them sink their roots into the rich soil of God’s love for the beings He has made in His own image. Let us show them through prayer that we, too, like our Nation’s Founders, seek our shelter — our rock and our salvation — in the arms of God. Finally, let us dedicate this Nation once more to the protection of Divine Providence, remembering the words of the Psalmist: “How excellent is thy loving kindness O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.”

Since the approval of the joint resolution of the Congress on April 17, 1952, calling for the designation of a specific day to be set aside each year as a National Day of Prayer, recognition of such a day has become a cherished annual event. Each President since then has proclaimed a National Day of Prayer annually under the authority of that resolution, continuing a tradition that actually dates back to the Continental Congress, which issued the first official proclamation for a National Day of Prayer on July 12, 1775. 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, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 3, 1990, as a National Day of Prayer. I invite the people of the United States to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, for the renewal of our Nation’s moral heritage and for God’s blessing upon each of us, especially our children.

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

Proclamation 6141 – Memorial Day, 1990
May 24, 1990

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Each year, we pause on Memorial Day to remember those individuals who have given their lives in defense of our Nation and the ideals for which it stands. For many Americans, this day recalls poignant memories of loved ones lost in battle. For others, this day is a time to give thanks for unknown heroes, for brave and selfless strangers who were willing to put themselves in harm’s way for our sake and for the sake of freedom-loving peoples around the world. All of us, whether we gather in public ceremony or quietly place flowers on a single grave, are united on this day by our solemn pride and heartfeld gratitude — and by our prayers for real and lasting peace among nations.

On this Memorial Day, we are especially mindful of recent social and political changes in Central and Eastern Europe, in Asia and Africa, and in our own hemisphere. The triumph of democratic ideals in countries that once suffered under the heavy yoke of totalitarianism is a tribute to all those Americans who have died to uphold the light of liberty and self-government.

Nearly half a century ago, President Franklin Roosevelt issued a gentle admonition to the American people when he observed that “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” It is too soon for us to forget those Americans who were killed during Operation Just Cause in Panama and during recent communist attacks in the Philippines; their loss is a fresh and powerful reminder that peace and freedom are precious blessings and that preserving these blessings requires eternal vigilance and unfailing moral resolve.

Yet today we also remember those Americans who made their final stand for freedom in more remote times and places — durign the dark days of world war, in the extreme climes of Korea and Vietnam, in Beirut, Grenada, and in the Persian Gulf. Each time we recall the courage and patriotism of these individuals, each time we rededicate ourselves to the ideals they are fervently cherished and defended, we help to ensure that they did not die in vain.

Like the hallowed veterans we honor doay, all of us are both heirs to and guardians of the blessings of liberty. Thus, on this Memorial Day, let us pray for God’s continued favor on this great Nation. Let s also pray for His strength and guidance in our efforts to advance the ideals of liberty and justice around the world. As this day so forcefully reminds us, respect for individual dignity and human rights provides the only sure foundation for true and lasting peace among nations.

In respect and recognition of those Americans to whom we pay tribute today, the Congress, by a 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, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Memorial Day, May 28, 1990, 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 apropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flow at half-staff until noon during this Memorial Day on all buidlings, 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, and of the Independence of the United States of American the two hundred and fourteenth.

GEORGE BUSH

Proclamation 6221 – For a National Day of Prayer, November 2, 1990
November 2, 1990
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Throughout American history, the people of this Nation have depended on Almighty God for guidance and wisdom. Both Scripture and experience confirm that the Lord hears the prayers of those who place their trust in Him. Time and again, in peril and uncertainty, doubt and decision, we Americans have turned to God in prayer and, in so doing, found strength and direction.

Today the United States and, indeed, all civilized countries are being challenged by a dictator who would brazenly deny the sovereignty of other nations in order to achieve regional hegemony and to wield undue influence over the global economy. Iraqi forces continue to occupy neighboring Kuwait, terrorizing that nation’s citizens in an affront to international law and fundamental standards of morality. Scores of U.S. civilians and citizens of other nations continue to be held hostage under inhuman conditions in both Kuwait and Iraq. Thousands have been made refugees fleeing from aggression in Kuwait and brutality in Iraq. To deter further aggression, thousands of American service men and women have been deployed and remain on duty in the demanding climate of the Persian Gulf region. They, too, face considerable hardship and danger. We are grateful for the loyalty, devotion to duty, and sacrifices of the members of our Armed Forces. Yet we know that military strength alone cannot save a nation or bring it prosperity and peace; as the Scripture speaks, “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” With these grave concerns before us, we do well to recall as a Nation the power of faith and the efficacy of prayer.

The Psalmist proclaimed: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Today let us turn to Him, both as individuals and as a Nation, to ask for His continued mercy and guidance. Let us pray for peace in the Persian Gulf, and let us ask the Lord to protect all those Americans and citizens of other nations, who are working to uphold the universal cause of freedom and justice half a world away from home. May it please the Lord to grant all leaders of nations involved in this crisis the wisdom and courage to work towards its just and speedy resolution.

The Congress, by House Joint Resolution 673, has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating November 2, 1990, as a National Day of Prayer.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 2, 1990, as a National Day of Prayer for American service personnel and American civilians stationed or held hostage in the Persian Gulf region. I urge all Americans to pause on this day to pray for these individuals and their families. I ask that prayer be made for the commanders of American military forces in the region and leaders in other nations that have deployed military forces in the Middle East to stop this aggression. I also urge the American people and their elected representatives to give thanks to God for His mercy and goodness and humbly to ask for His continued help and guidance in all our endeavors.

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

 

Proclamation 6243 – For a National Day of Prayer, February 3, 1991
February 1, 1991
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

As one Nation under God, we Americans are deeply mindful of both our dependence on the Almighty and our obligations as a people He has richly blessed. From our very beginnings as a Nation, we have relied upon God’s strength and guidance in war and peace. Entrusted with the holy gift of freedom and allowed to prosper in its great light, we have a responsibility to serve as a beacon to the world — to use our strength and resources to help those suffering in the darkness of tyranny and repression.

Today the United States is engaged in a great struggle to uphold the principles of national sovereignty and international order and to defend the lives and liberty of innocent people. It is an armed struggle we made every possible effort to avoid through extraordinary diplomatic efforts to resolve the matter peacefully, yet — given no choice by a ruthless dictator who would wield political and economic hegemony over other nations through force and terror — it is a struggle we wage with conviction and resolve. Our cause is moral and just.

However confident of our purpose, however determined to prevail, we Americans continue to yearn for peace and for the safety of our service men and women in the Persian Gulf. With these great hopes in mind, I ask all Americans to unite in humble and contrite prayer to Almighty God. May it please our Heavenly Father to look upon this Nation, judging not our worthiness but our need, and to grant us His continued strength and guidance. May He watch over and support the courageous members of our Armed Forces, their loving families, as well as the forces of those nations that have joined the coalition to liberate Kuwait and to deter further Iraqi aggression.

Today, as we turn our hearts toward Heaven, let us also pray especially for those brave and selfless military personnel who have earned their final rest in the arms of God. Let us ask Him to strengthen and console their families, and let us also remember all those innocent civilians, wherever they may be, who have been affected by this conflict.

“All this being done, in sincerity and truth,” as President Lincoln once wrote, “Let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered . . .” by Almighty God, our refuge and strength, our rock and our salvation.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 3, 1991, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask that Americans gather in homes and places of worship to pray for the members of Operation Desert Storm; for their families; and for all those innocent persons, wherever they may be, who suffer as a result of the conflict in the Persian Gulf. I ask that prayer be made for American military commanders in the region and for the forces of other nations that have joined in the coalition to liberate Kuwait. I also urge the American people and their elected representatives to give thanks to God for His mercy and goodness and humbly to ask for His continued help and guidance in all our endeavors. Let us pray this day, and every day hereafter, for peace. And may God keep this country as one great Nation under Him forever.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 1st day of February, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.

 

Radio Address to the Nation on the National Day of Prayer
February 2, 1991
At this moment, America, the finest, most loving nation on Earth, is at war, at war against the oldest enemy of the human spirit: evil that threatens world peace.

At this moment, men and women of courage and endurance stand on the harsh desert and sail the seas of the Gulf. By their presence they’re bearing witness to the fact that the triumph of the moral order is the vision that compels us. At this moment, those of us here at home are thinking of them and of the future of our world. I recall Abraham Lincoln and his anguish during the Civil War. He turned to prayer, saying: “I’ve been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”

So many of us, compelled by a deep need for God’s wisdom in all we do, turn to prayer. We pray for God’s protection in all we undertake, for God’s love to fill all hearts, and for God’s peace to be the moral North Star that guides us. So, I have proclaimed Sunday, February 3d, National Day of Prayer. In this moment of crisis, may Americans of every creed turn to our greatest power and unite together in prayer.

Let us pray for the safety of the troops, these men and women who have put their lives and dreams on hold because they understand the threat our world faces.

Let us pray for those who make the supreme sacrifice. In our terrible grief, we pray that they leave the fields of battle for finer fields where there is no danger, only tranquillity; where there is no fear, only peace; and where there is no evil, only the love of the greatest Father of all.

Let us pray for those who are held prisoner, that God will protect these, his special children, and will enlighten the minds and soften the hearts of their captors.

Let us pray for the families of those who serve. Let us reach out to them with caring, to make them part of a greater family filled with love and support.

Let us pray for the innocents caught up in this war, all of them, wherever they may be. And let us remember deep in our hearts the value of all human life, everywhere in the world.

Let us pray for our nation. We ask God to bless us, to help us, and to guide us through whatever dark nights may still lay ahead.

And above all, let us pray for peace, “peace . . . which passeth all understanding.”

On this National Day of Prayer and always, may God bless the United States of America.

 

Proclamation 6280 – National Day of Prayer, 1991
April 25, 1991
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

While we owe constant praise to Almighty God, we Americans have added cause for thanksgiving on this National Day of Prayer because of the recent coalition victory in the Persian Gulf. However, our joy and gratitude are inspired by far more than military triumph; on this special day of prayer held in the 200th year of our Bill of Rights, we give thanks for America’s long and abiding legacy of freedom.

During the past 200 years, the ideals enshrined in our Bill of Rights have gained favor around the world. Even where tryants have sought to rule by repression and terror, the spirit of freedom has endured. This is because, as Alexander Hamilton once noted, “the Sacred Rights of Mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the Hand of the Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” Almighty God has granted each of us free will and inscribed in our hearts the unalienable dignity and worth that come from being made in His image.

Because our dignity and freedom are gifts of our Creator, we have a duty to cherish them, always using the latter to choose life and goodness. On this occasion we do well to pray for the wisdom and the resolve to do just that.

As an elevation of the soul’s eyes to Heaven, prayer helps us to distinguish between liberty and license — to recognize that which is the grateful exercise of free will and that which is its corruption. Through prayer, we turn our hearts toward their real home and, in so doing, gain a sense of proper direction and higher purpose.

Faith and prayer are as important to guiding the conduct of nations as they are to individuals. We Americans, Abraham Lincoln once wrote, “have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven.” A nation so richly blessed has equally great responsibilities. Indeed, we have recently been reminded that “much will be asked of those to whom much has been given.” The crucible of war has once again tested our Nation’s character, and it has shown us both the need for and the power of prayer.

On this National Day of Prayer, let us acknowledge with heartfelt remorse the many times we have failed to appreciate the Lord’s gifts and to obey His Commandments. Giving humble thanks for His mercy, let us vow to fulfill not only our responsibilities but also our potential as one Nation under God. Most important, let us make our prayers pleasing to Him by the regular practice of public and private virtue and by a genuine renewal of America’s moral heritage. As Scripture says, “righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

Since the approval of the joint resolution of the Congress on April 17, 1952, calling for the designation of a specific day to be set aside each year as a National Day of Prayer, recognition of such a day has become a cherished annual event. Each President since then has proclaimed a National Day of Prayer annually under the authority of that resolution, continuing a tradition that dates back to the Continental Congress. 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, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 2, 1991, as a National Day of Prayer. I urge all Americans to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, for God’s continued blessing on our families and our Nation.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 25th day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.

 

Proclamation 6292 – Prayer For Peace, Memorial Day, 1991
May 14, 1991

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly,” Thomas Paine wrote in 1776, “it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods, and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.” The war in the Persian Gulf has reminded all Americans of the value of freedom and the the price that many brave men and women have been willing to bear for its sake. Neither “summer soldiers” nor “sunshine patriots,” the members of Operation Desert Storm did not shrink from service to their country when the dark clouds of armed conflict gathered in the Persian Gulf, and, like the early patriots of whom Thomas Paine wrote, they deserve our respect and thanks. Those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the effort to liberate Kuwait joined a long line of heroes who have given their lives for our country, and on Memorial Day we remember all of them with solemn pride and heartfelt appreciation.

Whether we engage in quiet prayer or in public ceremony, whether we remember loved ones and neighbors or heroes known only to God, all Americans are united on this day in thanksgiving for the blessings of liberty and for the brave and selfless individuals who have helped to secure them. The sacrifices of those who fell in the Persian Gulf are a fresh and vivid memory, but on this occasion we also remember those who died while serving in places such as Panama, Grenada, Beirut, Korea, and Vietnam. We also honor with undiminished pride and gratitude those who served decades ago, during World Wars I and II.

On Memorial Day, we echo in prayer the fervent hope that these Americans expressed with their very lives: the hope for lasting peace among nations. Knowing that any peace purchased by the surrender of principle can be neither genuine nor enduring, we pray for wisdom and resolve in our efforts to avert future conflicts and to establish a new world order based on respect for human rights and the rule of law. Knowing too that our freedom has been obtained at a very high cost, we also pray that we might remain a people worthy of so precious a gift. Declaring that “the times that try men’s souls are over,” Thomas Paine wrote: “The world has seen [America] great in adversity . . . and rising in resolve as the storm increased . . . . Let the world then see that she can bear prosperity and that her honest virtue in time of peace is equal to the bravest virtue in time of war.”

In recognition of those Americans to whom we pay tribute today, the Congress, by a 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, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Memorial Day, May 27, 1991, 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 members of the 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 fourteenth day of May 16, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred the ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.

GEORGE BUSH

Proclamation 6409 – National Day of Prayer, 1992
March 5, 1992
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

We live during a time of great and historic change, a time that has seen the rise of newly democratic nations and the fall of once firmly entrenched totalitarian regimes. While such progress is cause for optimism and hope, the dramatic pace of global developments and the uncertainty they generate can also leave us with a faint sense of anticipation and unease. As we seek to chart a proper course in a world that is changing by the hour, our observance of a National Day of Prayer reminds us that we can always palce our trust in the steady, unfailing light that is the love of God.

Time and again, Scripture tells us of the constancy of the Almighty. Indeed, His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, wrote the Psalmist, and His dominion endures throughout all generations.

Our ancestors trusted in the faithfulness of the Almighty, and they frequently turned to Him in humble, heartfelt prayer. When they finally reached these shores, the early settlers gave thanks for their very lives — and for the promise of freedom in a new land. Members of the Continental Congress began their deliberations with prayer, and later when members of that same body pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in support of our Nation’s independence, they did so “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”

Today we know that their trust was well placed; their faith, richly rewarded. The great American experiment in liberty and self-government has not only endured but prospered. The triumph of freedom in this country has inspired the advance of human rights and dignity around the globe.

Although much has transpired since our ancestors prayed for devine mercy and direction, this occasion calls us to remember, as did Ben Franklin and his contemporaries, “that God governs in the affairs of men.” The One to whom George Washington turned when he knelt in the snow at Valley Forge is the same God who heard the prayers of President Lincoln nearly a century later during the darkest hours of the Civil War. While our needs today may be different, we are no less dependent on the help of Almighty God. Therefore, let us likewise seek His forgiveness, strength, and guidance.

Whatever our individual religious convictions may be, each of us is invited to join in this National Day of Prayer. Indeed, although we may find our own word to express it, each of us can echo this timeless prayer of Solomon, the ancient king who prayed for, and received, the gift of wisdom:

The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways . . . . that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

Since the approval of the joint resolution of the Congress on April 17, 1952, calling for the designation of a specific day to be set aside each year as a National Day of Prayer, recognition of such a day has become a cherished annual event. Each President since then has proclaimed a National Day of Prayer annually under the authority of that resolution, continuing a tradition that dates back to the Continental Congress. 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, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 7, 1992, as a National Day of Prayer. I urge all Americans to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, in thanksgiving to Almighty God. On this occasion, let us also pray for His continued blessing upon our families and Nation.

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

Proclamation 6442 – Prayer for Peace Memorial Day, 1992
May 21, 1992

 

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Summer might well be described as the season of liberty — during this delightful time of year, millions of schoolchildren enjoy a welcome respite from the classroom while their parents and countless other Americans plan and participate in family vacations, Fourth of July picnics, and other activities that remind us of how very fortunate we are to live in this great land of freedom and opportunity. Thus, it is fitting that before we Americans celebrate the arrival of summer, we set aside a special day in honor of all those brave and selfless individuals who have died to defend our freedom and security. The peace, liberty, and prosperity with which we are blessed would not have been possible without their great sacrifices, and on Memorial Day we remember each of them with solemn pride and gratitude.

Whether we observe the occasion through public ceremony or through private prayer, Memorial Day leaves few hearts unmoved. Each of the patriots whom we remember on this day was first a beloved son or daughter, a brother or sister, or a spouse, friend, and neighbor. Each had hopes, plans and dreams not unlike our own. The loss of these Americans — indeed, the loss of any human life to war — fills us with sorrow and with strengthened resolve to work for peace.

Yet it would be a great injustice to our fallen service members to observe the day solely as one of mourning. Henry Ward Beecher may have explained it best when he said:

They that die for a good cause are redeemed from death * * * Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism? Ye that mourn let gladness mingle with your tears. It was your son, but now he is the Nation’s. He made your household bright; now his example inspires a thousand households.

The men and women who gave their lives in service to our couontry were dedicated to the worthy cause of freedom, and not one of them died in vain. From colonial America to the Persian Gulf, from places such as the Argonne to Normandy, Inchon, and Da Nang — they fought and sacrificed so others might live in peace, free from the fear of tyranny and aggression. On this Memorial Day, our hearts should swell with thankfulness and pride as we reflect on our Nation’s enduring heritage of liberty under law and on the continuing expansion of democratic ideals around the globe.

Today, inspired by the selfless actions and by the noble legacy of our Nation’s war dead, let us rededicate ourselves to the unfinished work of which President Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg. Let us renew our determination to promote respect for human rights and the rule of law, and let us pray for fortitude an discernment as we go about that unending task.

The Congress, by a joint resolution approved on May 11, 1950 (64 Stat. 158), has requested the President to issue a proclamation calling on 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, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Memorial Day, May 25, 1992, 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 members of the 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. I also 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-first day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

GEORGE BUSH

 

 

National Day of Prayer

 

Prayer Breakfasts – George Bush

blessing 4

 

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