Why does the Queen no longer call the nation to prayer?
And the deliverance came. And the services of thanksgiving were held, and still reverberate in the national consciousness.
But Churchill was a sincere, devout, Bible-reading, resurrection-believing Christian.
When Tony Blair was asked by the Reverend Ian Paisley to issue such a call, he replied: “I am sure that the nation will pray in its own way for what the hon. Gentleman says. I do not know whether it is right for Government to impose that, but I am sure that, according to their own consciences and faith, people will pray for the objectives that he has set out.”
But Tony Blair is a ‘don’t do God’ kind of Christian.
And Her Majesty is constrained to act only on the advice of her Ministers.
It is ironic that the United States, with its strict separation of church and state, has presidents which call the nation to prayer. But the United Kingdom, with an Established Church and a Head of State who is also Supreme Governor of the Church of England, no longer calls its people to prayer.
Cranmer has received a communication from The White House, detailing President Obama’s proclamation of a National Day of Prayer. It is interesting to note that ‘repentance’ has become ‘remembrance’, but he is at least continuing his nation’s tradition which was instituted in 1775. Congress established the National Day of Prayer as an annual event by a joint resolution in 1952. The law was amended by President Reagan, designating the first Thursday in May as an annual Day of Prayer.
The President of the United States has called for a National Day of Prayer every year since 1975. There have been 135 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President (between 1789-2009). There have been 57 Presidential Proclamations for a National Day of Prayer (1952-2009).
There have been no prime ministerial or royal proclamations of a Day of Prayer since World War II.
Here is the President’s proclamation:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 3, 2009
NATIONAL DAYS OF PRAYER AND REMEMBRANCE, 2009
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
They were daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, spouses and partners, family and friends, colleagues and strangers. They hailed from cities and towns across our Nation and world. On September 11, 2001, thousands of innocent women and men were taken from us, and their loss leaves an emptiness in our hearts.
Hundreds perished as planes struck the skyline of New York City, the structure of the Pentagon, and the grass of Pennsylvania. In the immediate aftermath of these tragedies, many victims died as they sought safety. Selflessly placing themselves in danger, first responders, members of the Armed Forces, and private citizens made the ultimate sacrifice working to assist others. During the National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, Americans across the country cherish the memory of all those who passed and honor and pray for their families and friends.
Americans also remember and pray for the safety and success of the members of the United States Armed Forces, who work every day to keep our Nation safe from terrorism and other threats to our security. Military members assisted those in need on September 11, 2001, and serve now in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. They have left the safety of home so that our Nation might be more secure. They have endured great sacrifice so that we might enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Our service members represent the best of America, and they deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.
The threat of terrorism has denied too many men, women, and children their right to live in peace and security. As the United States works to defeat terrorists and build a more hopeful future for our children and young people across the world, we seek humility and strength. We reflect upon the lessons drawn from our national tragedy, seek God's guidance and wisdom, and, never forgetting the lost, commit to working in common cause with our friends and allies to create a safer and brighter world for current and future generations.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, 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 Friday, September 4, through Sunday, September 6, as more National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. I ask that the people of the United States, each in their own way, honor the victims of September 11, 2001, and their families through prayer, memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I invite the people of the world to share in this solemn commemoration.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.