The White House has for the past eight years commemorated the National Day of Prayer with a service in the East Room, this year however will be different as President Obama decided against holding a public ceremony.

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation.

This year, the 58th annual observance will take place on May 7.

Prayer is something that the president does every day, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday, noting that Obama will sign a proclamation to recognize the day, as many administrations in the past have done.

I think the president understands, in his own life and in his family's life, the role that prayer plays, he added.

Under the Bush administration, the White House hosted an interfaith service each year, inviting protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders for an event at the East Room.