President Obama issued a proclamation for Thursday's National Day of Prayer, eschewing the specific mentions of God that peppered his predecessor's proclamations.

"As we observe this day of prayer, we remember the one law that binds all great religions together," Obama said in his proclamation, "the Golden Rule, and its call to love one another; to understand one another; and to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth."

In a clear difference from President George W. Bush's proclamations, Obama's released remarks make reference to "God" once, when he urges Americans to "ask for God's continued guidance, grace, and protection for this land that we love."

Obama came under some fire in recent days for downplaying the public celebration of this year's National Day of Prayer, avoiding the public events and celebrations marking the occasion in the previous few administrations.

Bush's proclamations and Days of Prayer, by contrast, were much more liberal with their use of references to a deity.

"America trusts in the abiding power of prayer and asks for the wisdom to discern God's will in times of joy and of trial," Bush wrote in his 2008 proclamation. "As we observe this National Day of Prayer, we recognize our dependence on the Almighty, we thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us, and we put our country's future in His hands."

The 2008 proclamation also included a quotation from the Book of Psalms, one of the three time Bush invoked Christian scripture in his National Day of Prayer proclamations.