Written by Don Byrd

Thursday of this week is the annual National Day of Prayer. I have written several times about how unnecessary this designation is. After all, people of faith don’t need the government to tell us when to pray. And people of no faith don’t need the government telling them they should pray at all.

Still, once a year, as required by statute, Thomas Jefferson rolls over once more and we observe an official National Day of Prayer.  As Rev. Violet Johnicker explains in an op-ed for the Rockford Registar Star, there is “no official government programming or agenda.” There is, however, an independent, non-government organization that takes the lead. The National Day of Prayer Task Force, which seeks to “mobilize the Christian community” hosts an event in the U.S. Capitol building, and offers materials on How to Pray for America and listing prayer priorities for the year.

I’ll let Rev. Johnicker take it from here:

There are three problems with this. First of all, no religious organization should claim to represent or organize the National Day of Prayer, which has never been and should not be designated as specifically Christian. Secondly, because there is such a broad diversity of Christian theology, even a Christian website should be clear about who is coordinating it, which in this case is an expressly conservative group and not representative of all Christians. Thirdly, the prayer materials suggested on the website veer into the heretical theology of Christian nationalism, where prayers imply that God has a special preference for America.

…I don’t think we should have a national day of prayer, not because I don’t value prayer but because I value it so much that I don’t think the government should have to tell me to do it.

Read the whole thing.