Our country has such a great history. It was built upon a strong allegiance to the Almighty. The founding fathers of our great land understood the power of prayer and the providence of God. On June 28, 1787, the great statesman Benjamin Franklin made a motion at the Constitutional Convention to continue to open each session with prayer. As he pled his case on that day, these are the words he spoke:
“In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection — our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity.”
The power of prayer! But unfortunately, in our land, we have forgotten, or purposely removed, the providence of God in the establishment of America. We remove prayer from our schools. We remove any kind of sound, biblical teaching from our communities. And we change our history books, so that the next generation knows nothing about the power and impact that prayer and God’s providence would have on our country. But it shouldn’t surprise us. Benjamin Franklin would go on in his motion to keep prayer at the Constitutional Convention and warn us about forgetting.
Here are his words on that 1787 day:
“And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of his truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.”
As a church, let us never forget the importance of prayer in, not only our personal lives, but also in the life of our country. And may “God bless the United States of America” not be simply the way to know that a president is done with a speech, but may it be a true prayer, from the heart, for this country God has blessed us with.
Southside Church of Christ,