The National Day of Prayer is an annual celebration designated by Congress. The President of the United States also issues a proclamation that encourages all Americans to turn to God and pray for the country. This has been going on since 1952 when it was signed into law by Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. The mission of the celebration is to mobilize unified public Prayer for America.

1. Date of the observance

The National Day of Prayer is observed every year on the first Thursday in May. This year, it falls on May 3, 2018.

It is the day when all Americans are asked to pray and meditate. The idea is that when the entire country is turning to God and praying to God at the same time, it is a powerful public action.

2. Celebrated by all Americans

The day is celebrated by Americans of many religions, faiths, and denominations. It is estimated that in previous years, over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances no matter what their religious beliefs were. The celebration is not limited to just adults. Children and teenagers join their parents as well.

3. How it is observed

There are many ways Americans can join others to observe the occasion. Some people assemble for prayer at state capitols, in front of county courthouses, on steps of city halls, in schools, businesses, homes, and in local places of worship.

There are many activities and events to participate in throughout the day, including luncheons, picnics, and musicals centered around praying. No matter how people celebrate, the main focus should be praying for the nation.

4. This year's theme

Every year there is a different theme based on a scripture from the Bible. This year's theme is "Pray for America - UNITY." It is based on Ephesians 4:3, "Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

5. Chairperson

Shirley Dobson has been the chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer since 1991.

She is the wife of James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. She leads a team of about 40,000 volunteers around the country. Because of Mrs. Dobson's excellent leadership, millions of people participate every year in the national effort.

Hopefully you have plans for the National Day of Prayer. If not, you can look online and check out what is happening in your own neighborhood. It's more than likely that you will find something that you can participate in with others in your community.