National Day of Prayer

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"Significance of the National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation as it enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.

Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, this day has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Every year, local, state, and federal observances were held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for our nation. It is estimated that over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances – organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers. At state capitols, county court houses, on the steps of city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes, people stopped their activities and gathered for prayer." -

The National Day of Prayer is on the 1st Thursday in May. You can learn more about this national event by using this link.

Students have the liberty to express their faith at school (including prayer). In addition to creating a student prayer card, Gateways and the Alliance Defending Freedom have teamed together to produce a pamphlet entitled, Free to Speak. To learn more about the prayer card, click here

USDOE's "Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools"



Section 9524 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act ("ESEA") of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, requires the Secretary to issue guidance on constitutionally protected prayer in public elementary and secondary schools. In addition, Section 9524 requires that, as a condition of receiving ESEA funds, a local educational agency ("LEA") must certify in writing to its State educational agency ("SEA") that it has no policy that prevents, or otherwise denies participation in, constitutionally protected prayer in public schools as set forth in this guidance.
The purpose of this guidance is to provide SEAs, LEAs, and the public with information on the current state of the law concerning constitutionally protected prayer in the public schools, and thus to clarify the extent to which prayer in public schools is legally protected. This guidance also sets forth the responsibilities of SEAs and LEAs with respect to Section 9524 of the ESEA. As required by the Act, this guidance has been jointly approved by the Office of the General Counsel in the Department of Education and the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice as reflecting the current state of the law. It will be made available on the Internet through the Department of Education's web site ( The guidance will be updated on a biennial basis, beginning in September 2004, and provided to SEAs, LEAs, and the public.

Using a Moment of Silence at School

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Thirty-four states currently have a provision that either mandates or allows for a moment of silence in the classroom at the beginning of every day.

To help students actually begin the day in prayer, Gateways has created a prayer card that students can use in the classroom. The size of a business card, these easily fit in a wallet or binder. Wouldn't it be great if students prayed the following: 

Heavenly Father, 
Grant me each day the desire
to do my best, 
To grow mentally and morally
as well as physically, 
To be kind and helpful to my classmates and teachers, 
To be honest with myself as
well as with others, 
Help me to be a good sport
and smile when I lose as
well as when I win, 
Teach me the value of
true friendship, 
Help me always to conduct myself so as to bring credit to my school. 

Read the states' laws regarding a moment of silence.

Download a sheet of the cards and print out as many as you can use.

Or you can purchase a set of 100 prayer cards for $15

CLICK HERE to read about the news event that gave birth to this strategy.



How do I know if my state allows for a moment of silence?

CLICK HERE for a list of the states that mandate or allow a moment of silence.

How do I know my school observes a moment of silence?

Contact your school secretary and ask if the students are given a moment of silence at the beginning of each day.

What to I do if my state allows or mandates for a moment of silence but my school district doesn’t observe it?

1. Check with your school superintendent’s office to see if there is a school board policy addressing a moment of silence that has been neglected.

2. If your school board has no such policy, meet with the superintendent to express your desire to see a policy implemented.  Bring two or three friends with you.  You can also meet with school board members individually to express your desire and gain their support.

What do I do if my school district has a policy but it is not being observed at my child's school?

Make a copy of the policy and contact your school principal. Use the “help me understand” approach to address the issue.

If the principal is disinterested or unwilling to implement the policy contact your superintendent. Explain to him that you are interested in seeing the current school district policy implemented in your child's school.

What do I do if my school already observes the moment of silence? 

Print out or purchase a set of Gateways School Prayer Cards. Give them to your own children to give to their friends. Ask your school’s Christian Club to distribute them to students. Provide them to parents of public school children in your church.