A day for prayer

Americans do not need a special day or time to lift their hearts in prayer to the Almighty for protection of their country and for world peace. But, in the rush of daily life, all too often the things of the spirit are neglected. Hence this year's National Day of Prayer -- Oct. 6 -- is another occasion to remind ourselves of the nation's unfailing spiritual resources. It is to be hoped each and every American will pause to reflect on humanity's needs and quietly and earnestly to acknowledge the divine omnipotence that meets them. In the words of the great Psalmist:

"Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth."

There is no monopoly on such heartfelt praise and affirmation. They cut across all races, religions, cultures, social classes, political parties. We are especially mindful of this in an election year when religion has come so strongly to the fore and when some religous groups would inject their own moral views into politics, to the point of dictating who in government is moral and who is not. Surely most Americans, of whatever political or religious persuasion, are doing their best to lead virtuous lives and are bound by a common yearning for universal justice and brotherly love. This is the well of moral and spiritual strength that should be drawn upon now to smother any budding of intolerance and to keep the nation united.

And as individual Americans reach out on this specially designated day for wisdom to deal with mankind's problems -- its wars, its poverty, its animosities , its fears -- may they not stop there. For it is less in occasional words and speech than in everyday actions that true prayer is manifested. Living lives of compassionate concern for others, thoughtfully supporting constructive efforts for peace and for social and economic progress for all, they will find their prayers bearing fruit.

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