When America’s Leaders Called For Prayer and Fasting

From my friend William J. Federer – a look back at why America was blessed with victory over our enemies – and blessed above any nation before us.

When suffering the evils of tyrants, the first order of business was to call for a day of Prayer and Fasting.

In these dark days of tyranny from our own leadership – where are even the church leaders on this score?

Fast asleep and lukewarm in the comfort of pews filled with donors.

God bless us with Repentance.

Or this experiment in self-governance is doomed.

When our leaders used to call us to prayer and fasting

By William J. Federer
© 2010

To punish Massachusetts for the Tea Party, King George III decided to destroy its economy by blockading Boston’s harbor on June 1, 1774.

Thomas Jefferson drafted a Resolution for a “Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer” to be observed the same day. It was introduced in the Virginia House of Burgesses May 24, 1774, by Robert Carter Nicholas and supported by Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee and George Mason, passing unanimously:

“This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great dangers, to be derived to British America, from the hostile invasion of the City of Boston, in our sister Colony of Massachusetts … deem it highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the members of this House as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights. … Ordered, therefore that the Members of this House do attend … with the Speaker, and the Mace, to the Church in this City, for the purposes aforesaid; and that the Reverend Mr. Price be appointed to read prayers, and the Reverend Mr. Gwatkin, to preach a sermon.”

George Washington wrote in his diary, June 1, 1774: “Went to church, fasted all day.”

Virginia’s royal governor, Lord Dunmore, interpreted this resolution as a veiled protest against King George III and dissolved the House of Burgesses, resulting in legislators meeting in Raleigh Tavern where they conspired to form the first Continental Congress.

On April 15, 1775, just four days before the Battle of Lexington, where was fired “the shot heard ’round the world,” the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, led by John Hancock, declared:

“In circumstances dark as these, it becomes us, as men and Christians, to reflect that, whilst every prudent measure should be taken to ward off the impending judgments … the 11th of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer … to confess the sins … to implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression.”

On May 15, 1776, Gen. George Washington ordered:

“The Continental Congress having ordered Friday the 17th instant to be observed as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, humbly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God, that it would please Him to pardon all our manifold sins and transgressions, and to prosper the arms of the United Colonies, and finally establish the peace and freedom of America upon a solid and lasting foundation; the General commands all officers and soldiers to pay strict obedience to the orders of the Continental Congress; that, by their unfeigned and pious observance of their religious duties, they may incline the Lord and Giver of victory to prosper our arms.”

At the Constitutional Convention, 1787, Ben Franklin stated:

“In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection.”

Proclaiming a Day of Prayer, Ronald Reagan said Jan. 27, 1983:

“In 1775, the Continental Congress proclaimed the first National Day of Prayer. … In 1783, the Treaty of Paris officially ended the long, weary Revolutionary War during which a National Day of Prayer had been proclaimed every spring for eight years.”

Maybe Americans should once again, as Reagan concluded: “… seek His help for the challenges we face today and in the future.”

1 Comment

Filed under Chrisitan Viewpoint, History

One response to “When America’s Leaders Called For Prayer and Fasting

  1. Jack

    June 1 now kicks off Gay Lesbian Transgendered Month, officially proclaimed by the President of the United states.

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