Like his predecessors, President Biden issued a proclamation on the National Day of Prayer this week, but one word was missing.
Both former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump mentioned “God” in their National Day of Prayer proclamations, but Biden’s proclamation never mentions God, only Americans’ “many religions and belief systems” and the “power of prayer.”
“Throughout our history, Americans of many religions and belief systems have turned to prayer for strength, hope and guidance,” Biden’s proclamation reads. “Prayer has nourished countless souls and powered moral movements – including essential fights against racial injustice, child labor and infringement on the rights of disabled Americans. Prayer is also a daily practice for many, whether it is to ask for help or strength, or to give thanks over blessings bestowed.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s 2017 proclamation mentioned God five times, his 2018 proclamation mentioned God five times, his 2019 proclamation mentioned God seven times and his 2020 proclamation mentioned God 11 times.
While the proclamation itself didn’t include “God,” Biden’s remarks for the occasion did say the vaccine was developed “by the grace of God.”
Obama’s 2011 proclamation contained two references to God.
“Let us pray for the police officers, firefighters and other first responders who put themselves in harm’s way every day to protect their fellow citizens,” he said. “And let us ask God for the sustenance and guidance for all of us to meet the great challenges we face as a Nation.”
“I invite all citizens of our Nation, as their own faith or conscience directs them, to join me in giving thanks for the many blessings we enjoy, and I ask all people of faith to join me in asking God for guidance, mercy and protection for our Nation,” Obama said.
The National Day of Prayer is typically the first Thursday in May. The National Day of Prayer went virtual last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.