Although we are witnessing daily attempts to remove all acknowledgement of God from the public square, throughout history our nation’s leaders have publicly called in the nation to cry out to God to ask for His blessing and forgiveness. Such proclamations were acknowledgment of our collective dependence on God and our need for His mercy.

On October 3, 1789, in the wake of our unlikely victory over the greatest military power of the day, and the ratification of the Constitution, George Washington issued our nation’s first presidential proclamation for a national day of prayer and thanksgiving to be observed at the end of November. It stated in part, “…that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions.” Similarly, President John Adams proclaimed “a day of solemn humiliation, fasting and prayer” on March 23, 1798.

In the midst of turmoil of the American Civil War, President Lincoln, along with Congress, issued two proclamations during his presidency for “a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer.” Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation challenged the nation “to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” By 1952 Harry Truman signed into law a bill that proclaimed a National Day of Prayer to be formally set aside by each subsequent president at an appropriate date of his choice.

This Thursday, May 7, marks the 64th annual National Day of Prayer; its theme is Lord Hear Our Cry. While our nation faces many challenges that require fervent prayer, perhaps no domestic issue is as pressing as the sanctity of human life. Every year in America approximately 1.2 million precious lives are lost to abortion—roughly 3,500 lives every day or one life every 2.5 seconds. It is perhaps the defining moral battle of our generation.

Join fellow believers and pray for the unborn on the National Day of Prayer. You can also join prayer warriors around the country who are using our prayer app to pray for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. Jesus said in John 14:14, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” Join us this year in asking Him to end abortion in our lifetime.