Since the recognized avenue for National Day of Prayer observances — supported by quite a few governors, but gladly not the Mayor of the District of Columbia so far as I’ve found; is yours one? — is a conservative Evangelical task force (Christian Science Monitor), I think I’ll keep my distance. But a couple of prayers to recall the day, with a note to the other reason people remember May 1. (The National Day of Prayer is the first Thursday in May.)
Let us pray:
O God, who art the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings, and the bestower of affection, who sendest peace to those that receive it, open to us this day the sea of Thy love, and water us with plenteous streams from the riches of Thy grace, and from the most sweet springs of Thy benignity. Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace. Enkindle in us the fire of Thy love; sow in us Thy fear; strengthen our weakness by Thy power; bind us closely to Thee and to each other in one firm and indissoluble bond of unity. Amen.
Syrian Clementine Liturgy, in “A Book of Common Worship” (Knickerbocker Press, 1915), p. 220.
O God, thou mightiest worker of the universe, source of all strength and author of all unity, we pray thee for our brothers, the industrial workers of the nation. As their work binds them together in common toil and danger, may their hearts be knit together in a strong sense of their common interests and destiny. Help them to realize that the injury of one is the concern of all, and that the welfare of all must be the aim of every one. If any of them is tempted to sell the birthright of his class for a mess of pottage for himself, give him a wider outlook and a nobler sympathy with his fellows. Teach them to keep step in a steady onwards march, and in their own way fulful the law of Christ by bearing the common burdens.
Grant the organizations of labor quiet patience and prudence in all disputes, and fairness to see the other side. Save them malice and bitterness. Save them from the headlong folly which ruins a fair cause, and give them wisdom resolutely to put aside the two-edged sword of violence that turns on those who seize it. Raise up for them still more leaders of able mind and large heart, and give them grace to follow the wiser counsel.
When they strive for leisure and health and a better wage, do thou grant their cause success, but teach them not to waste their gain on fleeting passions, but to use it in building fairer homes and a nobler manhood. Grant all classes of our nation a larger comprehension for the aspirations of labor and for the courage and worth of these our brothers, that we may cheer them in their struggles and understand them even in their sins. And may the upward climb of Labor, its defeats and its victories, in the farther reaches bless all classes of our nation, and build up for the republic of the future a great body of workers, strong of limb, clear of mind, fair in temper, glad to labor, conscious
of their worth, and striving together for the final brotherhood of all men.
Walter Rauschenbusch, For God and the people: prayers of the social awakening (The Pilgrim Press, 1910), p.57-58.