President Nixon proclaimed Wednesday, October 22, a day of prayer for the nation, as required by Congress. We do not think this call was heard or heeded as it should have been. Most of the nation never knew the day had been set aside for prayer. The news media buried it. And the way the matter was handled by the White House left much to be desired. The proclamation, which came soon after the October 15 Moratorium Day, did not seem to carry with it the enthusiasm and the conviction of the President or his administration.

We think that the intent of the peace demonstrations falls in line with Mr. Nixon’s announced objective—to end the war in Viet Nam as quickly as possible. There is often a vast gap between intention and fulfillment, and we sympathize with the President in his predicament of trying to end a highly complex war he did not start.

Our nation and its President need to seek the help of Almighty God in a way that the October 22 day of prayer did not accomplish. It is to Mr. Nixon’s credit that he arranged a White House service that day for members of Congress. But he needs to do more. Let him publicly appeal to the people of America and the world to join him in beseeching the help of God for a way out. Let him confess to the world his and our need of God’s help.

We believe that if the President takes this action, it will bring into play powers of which we have no knowledge that can change the now irreconcilable views of men on opposing sides. We are not thinking of either winning a victory or sustaining a defeat; we are convinced that the God of peace can work in such a way that good could come for both sides in the present impasse. Prayer indeed may be our only hope. Surely this is a small step to take in the face of deepening alienation and widening disunity, when the hour is late and the bells are tolling—perhaps for us.

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