But its future is in question.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison, Wis., ruled last week that the National Day of Prayer, which Congress established 58 years ago, is unconstitutional.
The Obama administration is appealing the decision, which won't be enforced until all legal challenges are concluded.
In her ruling, Judge Crabb wrote that the law's "sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise ..."
I'm no legal scholar, but she might be right.
The First Amendment says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
If you don't think the National Day of Prayer is religious, read the proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln almost 150 years ago. Here's an excerpt:
"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."
It was signed March 30, 1863, but it could have been March 30, 2010.
We, today, are a broken and divided nation, intoxicated with our own success and too proud to humbly seek forgiveness from the Almighty.
While ole Honest Abe didn't go so far as to establish a religion, he sure didn't hold any punches in making it clear who he believes in, fully throwing the bully pulpit of the nation's highest office behind his beliefs.
And I say, God bless him.
Imagine the country we'd have if more real Christians spoke with such intelligent passion about matters of faith.
Judge Crabb ruled that atheists and agnostics could file the lawsuit because they were injured by being made to feel like outsiders.
If this is true, then wouldn't they also be injured by Resurrection Day and Hanukkah and Rosh Hashana and Thanksgiving? Maybe Christmas is their next target.
The law passed by Congress doesn't point to any specific religion, nor does it require anyone to observe the day.
Regardless, if the federal designation is ultimately ruled unconstitutional and the law is deleted from the books, what's to stop people from continuing to gather and pray?
God was wise enough to make real prayer a matter of the heart — where it can't be forced on anyone nor prevented by anyone.
What this country needs is not a proclamation to pray, but a desire.
Anthony Cook is managing editor at The Star and pastor of Christian Fellowship Bible Church in Anniston. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 256-235-3558.