President Donald Trump has proclaimed Sunday, Sept. 3, as a National Day of Prayer for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and for the national response and recovery efforts.
“From the beginning of our nation, Americans have joined together in prayer during times of great need to ask for God’s blessing and God’s guidance,” Trump said at a meeting with faith leaders at the White House on Friday.
Trump invited all Americans to join in “as we continue to pray for those who have lost family members and friends, and for those who are suffering from this great crisis.”
Hurricane Harvey and its floodwaters have displaced more than one million people and up to 50 people are feared to have died. Rescue workers continue to search for survivors as well as recover bodies.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Friday that some areas are still “deadly dangerous.”
Trump praised the “brave first responders” for their tireless work in saving thousands of lives, as well as everyday Americans who have opened their homes to those in need.
“We give thanks for the generosity and goodness of all those who have responded to the needs of their fellow Americans,” said Trump in the proclamation.
“I urge Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers today for all those harmed by Hurricane Harvey, including people who have lost family members or been injured, those who have lost homes or other property, and our first responders, law enforcement officers, military personnel, and medical professionals leading the response and recovery efforts,” the proclamation said.
The proclamation invites Americans to, in their own way, call upon God for strength and comfort during this difficult time.
Prayer, and national days of prayer, are deeply embedded in American culture since its founding. In 1775, the Continental Congress called on the citizens of the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, and Gen. George Washington also sought for God’s wisdom as Americans fought for independence. Abraham Lincoln signed a resolution in March 1863 calling for a day of “National prayer and humiliation.”
The president was joined Vice President Mike Pence and 16 clergy and representatives of faith-based organizations.
“I think it goes without saying that in a moment like this, we all come together as Americans, we all bow to almighty God, we ask for his grace and his mercy over those who are affected,” said Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, at the event.
“Most of all, Mr. President, we thank you for acknowledging that ultimately it is God who is the source of our unity as Americans, and I thank you for issuing this proclamation,” he said.
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will travel to both Texas and Louisiana on Saturday to visit disaster affected areas and meet with storm survivors.
Trump has been closely involved in the federal response to the disaster and has promised Texas and Louisiana any help needed for recovery.
White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders said that the president is currently finalizing a supplemental request to support the needs of emergency responders at the federal, state, and local level.