WASHINGTON -- People from all around the nation gathered on their knees in a congressional conference room Thursday, asking for God's mercy and blessing for America.
Longtime National Day of Prayer Chairman Shirley Dobson pointed out America's leaders have called upon their countrymen to call upon the Lord since 1775.
"This has been our heritage. This has been our tradition," Dobson said.
Glenn Sheppard, president of International Prayer Ministries, asked folks to get on their knees for a time of corporate repentance, pointing out it's a mandate across the scriptures.
Rev. Rob Schenck, who leads the Faith &Action outreach on Capitol Hill, spoke to CBN News about what he felt was accomplished during the prayer gathering. Click play for his comments, following this report.
Also, click here for more from Shirley Dobson, chairperson of the National Day of Prayer, on this year's emphasis on America's war veterans.
"Every word of God cries out for his people to repent," Shepherd said.
Not all Americans believe it's proper for the government to call for a Day of Prayer.
Amanda Knief, the government relations manager for the Secular Coalition for America, said it violates separation of church and state.
"We do not believe the government should be in the business of telling people when or how to pray," she explained.
Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., couldn't disagree more.
"This America is rooted in a Judeo-Christian faith tradition which finds its cornerstone of communication prayer," he said.
Kay Ceithamer just moved to Washington, D.C., from California.
"We would gather around our flagpoles and we would pray," she explained during earlier days of prayer. "And so this is such an awesome opportunity to be here in our nation's capitol."
Nancy Bonjour came from Madison Heights, Mich., to pray because of the sad state of the economy. But she also had another reason.
"The state of our morals, and we need to be on our faces before God," she explained.
A special emphasis at this year's prayer time was on honoring America's wounded warriors, disabled while fighting for their country.
One of America's most beloved disabled Christians was named the honorary chairman of this year's National Day of Prayer.
Joni Eareckson Tada told CBN News her main message is that Americans must not give up hope in dark times.
"Our God is a great refuge and a fortress and it is in our God that we put our trust," she said. "And he is our inspiration and we know that good will ultimately triumph."
*Original broadcast May 5, 2011.