3:54 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you and good afternoon. To the President and the First Lady, to leaders in faith and in public life, to all our distinguished guests, it is an honor for Karen and me to be here with all of you at the White House as we mark one more National Day of Prayer. You know, for our family, prayer has always been an important part of our lives, just as it has for millions of Americans.
Karen and I will both attest that the sweetest words that we ever hear are when people will take a moment, walk up, and say, “I’m praying for you.” And you know they mean it from their hearts and we hear it all of the time. We can attest firsthand, America is a nation of prayer.
The American people have long believed in the power of prayer, that the effective and fervent prayer of a righteous person availeth much, and that in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, we’re to present our request to God with the promise that the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
Prayer is the core that runs through every era of American history as well. In 1775, the Second Continental Congress established a day of fasting and prayer. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln urged Americans to pray so that, in his words, “the united cry of the Nation would be heard on high, and answered with a blessing.”
And since 1952, every President has issued a proclamation in honor of the National Day of Prayer. And today, President Donald Trump continues that tradition here in the Rose Garden. And as we gather here, I know we all feel that it’s especially fitting that we do so this year and during this time.
In these times of heartache for tens of thousands of American families and hardship for tens of millions, now more than ever it’s important that we take time to pause and to pray for America. And on behalf of my wife Karen and I, let me say how grateful we are that the President and the First Lady have continued this great tradition at such a time as this.
Though it is not the first time our President has called on the nation during our present national crisis to pray, it was in March of this year, the President asked the American people to join, in his words, “in a day of prayer for all people,” all those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and to pray for God’s healing hand to be placed on the people of our nation.
And I can tell you that your First Family and our family have been inspired every day to see the way that the American people have taken up that call, not just to pray, but to act in the midst of this national crisis.
We’ve seen people of every creed in this country, in every city and every state, step forward to put feet on their faith with countless acts of kindness and generosity to those in need. The Bible says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions, never fail.” And neither have the compassions or the generosity of the American people failed in this hour.
So on this National Day of Prayer, we counted a privilege to simply say to the American people: Thank you for your prayers. And thank you for all you have done to see your family, your friends, your neighbors, and even strangers through these unprecedented times.” But today, with the deepest respect and a grateful heart, we urge you to be persistent in prayer.
On this National Day of Prayer, pray for the families who’ve lost loved ones. And pray for those, who at this very hour, are struggling with the severest consequences of the coronavirus.
Pray for our doctors and nurses and healthcare workers who have cared for our families as if they were their own, and have not just provided the healthcare that any one of us would want for a loved one, but in so many cases, our doctors and nurses, and healthcare workers have literally taken the place of family and loved ones for patients enduring the isolation of the coronavirus.
Pray for the police, firefighters, and first responders who, without regard to their personal safety, have rendered care and sped those impacted by this dread virus to healing hands. And as we gather today and remember these families and these heroes, and all of those who have labored every day to protect our nation during these challenging times, let’s also remember to pray for all of the men and women who defend this nation in good times and bad, who wear the uniform of the United States, who are standing a post at this hour in far-flung places around the world, who are deploying as we speak to defend this great nation. Let’s remember them as well.
And on this National Day of Prayer, as we pray for the American people, for every American of every creed, let’s do so with faith in those ancient words that Americans have clung to throughout our history: That if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, let’s knew — let’s know that He’ll do like He’s always done throughout every challenging hour in the history of this nation. He’ll hear from Heaven, and He’ll heal this land.
So, thank you. And God bless you, and God bless America.