After the U.S. Army rescinded his invitation to pray at a special Pentagon service, Franklin Graham expressed regret, but said he would continue to pray for the military.
“I regret that the Army felt it was necessary to rescind their invitation to the National Day of Prayer Task Force to participate in the Pentagon’s special prayer service. I want to express my strong support for the United States military and all our troops. I will continue to pray that God will give them guidance, wisdom and protection as they serve this great country.”
April 22, 2010, 12:40 p.m.
The Justice Department announced today it will appeal last week’s ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. The appeal would go to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Chicago to review the Wisconsin judge’s ruling.
April 16 Update
When a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that our National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional, it immediately generated widespread anger, heated debate and new rounds of legal maneuvering.
According to Franklin Graham, the honorary chairman of this year’s National Day of Prayer, it also shows just how much our country needs God’s help.
“At a time when our country is waging two wars, approval ratings for Congress are at historic lows, unemployment is at a 70-year high and financial institutions have collapsed around us, I can’t imagine anyone seriously opposing a National Day of Prayer,” said Graham, who is president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse.
Graham said he was puzzled by the judge’s logic. In her ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb wrote, “the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray.”
“It sounds to me like even the judge in this case understands the power of prayer. But it’s voluntary. There’s no requirement that people pray,” said Graham. “To act like a National Day of Prayer is a bad thing or somehow subversive is ridiculous. Surely our country needs prayer now more than ever.”
Graham also points out that God commands us to pray for our leaders. “The Bible is clear on this. 1 Timothy says, ‘I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.'”
Prayer is nothing new to Americans, added Graham. “Our country has a long history of recognizing a national day of prayer. It’s something that dates back to the Continental Congress when it recommended that states set aside a day for prayer and thanksgiving. This is a significant part of our country’s heritage.”
“For me, the bottom line is this,” said Graham. “No judge can stop us from praying for our country and I pray that on May 6, millions of Americans will join me in praying for our President, all of our elected leaders, and even for this unjust judge and all those who rule from the bench–that God would guide them and give them wisdom.”
This year’s National Day of Prayer takes place May 6. For more information about the National Day of Prayer, visit NationalDayofPrayer.org.