By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
The National Day of Prayer Task Force, which is run out of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colo., has been eagerly awaiting word from the White House about plans for next Thursday's National Day of Prayer. Specifically, the group wants to know if President Obama will issue a proclamation observing the National Day of Prayer next Thursday and whether he'll host a formal White House event to mark the day—the latter being the practice of the Bush White House.
The White House tells me that there will be a proclamation but no White House event—which is how administrations prior to George Bush's marked the event. Bush had been in the habit of inviting National Day of Prayer Task Force Chairman Shirley Dobson and her husband, James—founder of Focus on the Family—to the East Room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the event.
"President Obama is a committed Christian and believes that we should be engaging Americans of faith in efforts to renew our country," said a White official of White House plans. "He is following the tradition of Presidents Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and others by signing a proclamation honoring the National Day of Prayer, while continuing to work with communities of faith to improve our country."