national day of prayer 1942


January 1, 1942

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill worship at Christ Church for National Day of Prayer following U.S. entry into World War II.

On New Year’s Day 1942, during the dark days of World War II, praying for national forgiveness was the first order of business. In dreary weather, President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill motored 


from the White House to worship at historic Christ Church in neighboring Alexandria, Virginia. A master of civil religion, Roosevelt had appointed January 1 a national day of prayer, and he chose George Washington’s church to observe it.

2016 marks the 75th anniversary of this historic day. Former Warden John Lawson wrote about this turning point in our nation's history. We highlighted the article in a three-part series in our monthly publication, Rejoice. You can read the full version here

On Sunday, January 1, 2017, we will celebrate the 75th anniversary with a Service of Prayer for Peace at Christ Church, remembering those prayers prayed so many years ago but also adding our own voices and prayers for our nation, calling for an end to the violence that plagues us both here and abroad, calling for strength and humility in our nation’s leaders, and calling for justice and mercy to be practiced in the public sphere. Worship will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will include music and Holy Eucharist. 

 American History TV visited Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia to hear the story. Watch it here.