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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 3, 2001
Remarks by the President During National Day of Prayer Reception
3:48 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, all. Thank you and welcome to the White House. It's great to see members of my Cabinet here. Secretaries Veneman, Martinez and Paige, thank you all for coming. Leaders of the United States Congress, thank you all for being here, as well.
Shirley, thank you for the state proclamations -- I quickly thumbed through to make sure that Florida was there. (Laughter.) Otherwise, my little brother might be hearing from me. (Laughter.) But it was there. And thanks for the beautiful painting. We know how much work it takes to organize the National Day of Prayer, and all of us thank you for your hard work. You've done a very good job. (Applause.)
Whitley, thank you very much for sharing your voice with us. This is the second time I've been privileged to hear your voice since I've been the President. I hope to hear it a lot more. And, Angela, it's wonderful to see you again. Thank you for your testimony and your beauty and your grace.
And Reverend Rogers, thank you so much for bringing not only your own words of prayer, but that of our mutual friend, Billy Graham, for whom we continue to pray for his health.
This is a day when our nation recognizes a power above our power, and influence beyond our influence, a guiding wisdom far greater than our own. The American character, it's strong and confident; but we have never been reluctant to speak of our own dependence on providence.
Our country was founded by great and wise people who were fluent in the language of humility, praise and petition. Throughout our history, in danger and division, we have always turned to prayer. And our country has been delivered from many serious evils and wrongs because of that prayer.
We cannot presume to know every design of our Creator, or to assert a special claim on His favor. Yet, it is important to pause and recognize our help in ages past and our hope for years to come.
The first President to live in the White House arrived with a prayer. In a letter to his wife, written on his second night here, John Adams offered a prayer that Heaven might bless this house and all those who would call it home. One of his successors, Franklin D. Roosevelt, thought enough of that prayer to have it inscribed on a mantlepiece in the State Dining Room, where you can still find it today.
In this house, I make many decisions. But as I do so, as I make those decisions, I know as surely as you said that many Americans lift me up in prayer. Those prayers are a gracious gift, and Laura and I and my family greatly appreciate them.
America has many traditions of faith and many experiences of prayer. But I suspect that many who pray have something in common: that we may pray for God's help, but as we do so, we find that God has changed our deepest selves. We learn humility before His will and acceptance of things beyond our understanding. We discover that the most sincere of all prayers can be the simple words, "Thy will be done." And that is a comfort more powerful than all our plans.
Laura and I really appreciate you being here on this special day. We thank you for your concerns for your country and your love of the Lord. It's an honor for me to be here and I would ask that you join me in the State Dining Room for a little fellowship.
God bless America. (Applause.)
3:52 P.M. EDT