President Bush called on Americans to pray for peace in the Persian Gulf on a "national day of prayer" Sunday that he planned to observe at a quiet church service in the Maryland countryside.
Bush and his wife, Barbara, were to attend Sunday services in the chapel at the presidential retreat in Camp David, Md., where they were spending the weekend, said spokesman Sean Walsh.The president said Americans should pray for the families of the armed forces, for "the innocents caught up in this war" and for the nation.
Here is the text of the president's radio message:
"At this moment, America, the finest, most loving nation on Earth, is at war. At war against the oldest enemy of the human spirit - evil that threatens world peace.
" At this moment, men and women of courage and endurance stand on the harsh desert and sail the seas of the gulf. By their presence they're bearing witness to the fact that the triumph of the moral order is the vision that compels us.
"At this moment, those of us here at home are thinking of them and of the future of our world. I recall Abraham Lincoln and his anguish during the Civil War. He turned to prayer, saying: `I've been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.'
"So many of us, compelled by a deep need for God's wisdom in all we do, turn to prayer. We pray for God's protection in all we undertake, for God's love to fill all hearts, and for God's peace to be the moral North Star that guides us.
"So I have proclaimed Sunday, February 3rd, National Day of Prayer. In this moment of crisis, may Americans of every creed turn to our greatest power and unite together in prayer.
"Let us pray for the safety of the troops - these men and women who have put their lives and dreams on hold because they understand the threat our world faces.
"Let us pray for those who make the supreme sacrifice. In our terrible grief, we pray that they leave the fields of battle for finer fields where there is no danger - only tranquility; where there is no fear - only peace; and where there is no evil - only the love of the greatest father of all.
"Let us pray for those who are held prisoner, that God will protect these, his special children - and will enlighten the minds and soften the hearts of their captors.
"Let us pray for the families of those who serve. Let us reach out to them with caring, to make them part of a greater family filled with love and support.
"Let us pray for the innocents caught up in this war. All of them, wherever they may be. And let us remember deep in our hearts the value of all human life, everywhere in the world.
"Let us pray for our nation. We ask God to bless us, to help us and to guide us through whatever dark nights may still lie ahead. And, above all, let us pray for peace - peace, which passeth all understanding.
"On this National Day of Prayer and always, may God bless the United States of America."