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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 29, 1998




In every era of American history, devout men and women from every nation have come to our shores seeking the freedom to worship according to their own conscience. Recognizing the sacredness of this fundamental human right, our founders wisely guaranteed it in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Prayer has always been an integral part of American life. In every city, town, and rural community across our country, people of every religious denomination gather to worship according to their faith. In churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques, Americans come together to pray. We pray for the health and happiness of loved ones; for inner peace and peace among nations; and for the wisdom and courage to face the challenges of the new millennium. And always we raise our voices and hearts in prayers of thanksgiving for the blessing of freedom.

Just as Americans rely on prayer for strength and renewal in private life, so do we turn to it at moments of great joy or crisis in our public life as a Nation. Meeting in Philadelphia to make the momentous decisions that would ultimately determine the nature and form of American Government, the Continental Congress began daily deliberations with a prayer for God's blessings and assistance. In his first inaugural address, President George Washington also prayed for guidance from the Almighty as he began the enormous task of leading a new, untried democracy.

In this century, with America in the throes of the Great Depression and a world teetering on the brink of war, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt concluded his first inaugural address with a fervent prayer: "In this dedication of a Nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come." And today, as we look ahead to the promise of a new century, Americans continue to draw strength from the bedrock of faith and religious freedom upon which our democracy rests.

The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society and to honor the religious diversity our freedom permits by recognizing annually a "National Day of Prayer."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 7, 1998, as a National Day of Prayer. I encourage the citizens of this great Nation to pray, each in this or her own manner, seeking strength from God to face the problems of today, requesting guidance for the uncertainties of tomorrow, and giving thanks for the rich blessings that our country has enjoyed throughout our history.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninetyeight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


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