By Ida Smith-Williams
Many people may know about the First Saturday of May representing the greatest two minutes of sports, at least in Louisville. It’s the day of the Kentucky Derby! But many people may not be aware of what the first Thursday in May represents. In 1952, President Truman declared an annual national day of prayer and in 1988, the law was amended, permanently setting the first Thursday of May as a national day of prayer. All Americans, regardless of their religious or political affiliation, are encouraged to pray on this day. This Thursday, May 2, 2013 is National Day of Prayer and that got me thinking about prayer.
How often do worshipers pray? Nearly seven out of ten worshipers spend time daily praying on their own (68%). This percentage of worshipers has stayed steady since 2001.
What do worshipers pray for? Three-quarters of worshipers pray daily for themselves or their family members (74%). Fewer than three in ten (29%) worshipers pray daily for world peace or an end to war, and one-quarter (26%) pray daily for an end to world hunger or poverty.
Do national and international events influence prayer? When asked if they prayed more often than previously because of national or world events in the previous five years, three-quarters of worshipers said they did to some extent (75%). Few (17%) increased their pray time a great deal.
Do prayers make a difference? Three out of five worshipers think prayers make a difference regardless of events (62%). When asked “because of national or world events in the past five years, to what extent have you doubted whether your prayers made a difference?” only one in ten had much doubt about the effectiveness of their prayers (9%).
Please visit the National Day of Prayer Website to learn more about this event.