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Obama to Mark National Day of Prayer Privately

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs defended the Obama administration's plan to recognize the National Day of Prayer on Thursday with a paper proclamation, rather than a public event at the White House.

"We're doing a proclamation, which I know that many administrations in the past have done," Gibbs told reporters Tuesday.

But that is a major change from the way the day was recognized during eight years of the Bush administration, when prominent evangelical and other spiritual leaders were invited to attend an event in the East Room.

"Prayer is something that the president does every day," Gibbs said. "Privately, he'll pray as he does every day."

The event comes as reporters continue asking the White House about the Obama family's search for a church in Washington.

On Easter Sunday, the first family attended a service at St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House.

But Joshua DuBois, faith adviser at the White House, issued a statement saying the Obama family "has not made a decision yet on which church they will formally join in Washington."

When asked Tuesday if Obama will soon pray in a church that he calls his own, Gibbs said, "He may."

Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.