National Day of Prayer at Faulkner County courthouse, May 6

Worship singing at the National Day of Prayer at the Faulkner County (Arkansas) Courthouse on Thursday.

U.S. soldiers were fighting in Korea when President Harry S. Truman signed a congressional resolution calling for an annual National Day of Prayer. The purpose was for people to gather in houses of worship to pray for world peace, according to an Associated Press report from April 17, 1952.

Since 1988 the event has taken place on the first Thursday in May, diligently observed by some churches, ignored by others. The 70th edition this week comes after a year wracked by a devastating pandemic, political polarization and turmoil related to racial injustice.

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