1775 NATIONAL DAY OF HUMILIATION, FASTING, AND PRAYER
What were the intentions of the founding fathers as they called for the first National Day of Prayer before our nation's birth? Read their actual proclamation made June 12, 1775 (note: an easy-to-read bulleted summary follows):
As the great Governor of the World, by his supreme and universal Providence, not only conducts the course of nature with unerring wisdom and rectitude, but frequently influences the minds of men to serve the wise and gracious purposes of his providential government; and it being, at all times, our indispensible duty devoutly to acknowledge his superintending providence, especially in times of impending danger and public calamity, to reverence and adore his immutable justice as well as to implore his merciful interposition for our deliverance:
This Congress, therefore, considering the present critical, alarming and calamitous state of these colonies, do earnestly recommend that Thursday, the 20th day of July next, be observed, by the inhabitants of all the English colonies on this continent, as a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer; that we may, with united hearts and voices, unfeignedly confess and deplore our many sins; and offer up our joint supplications to the all-wise, omnipotent, and merciful Disposer of all events; humbly beseeching him to forgive our iniquities, to remove our present calamities, to avert those desolating judgments, with which we are threatened, and to bless our rightful sovereign, King George the third, and [to] inspire him with wisdom to discern and pursue the true interest of all his subjects, that a speedy end may be put to the civil discord between Great Britain and the American colonies, without farther effusion of blood: And that the British nation may be influenced to regard the things that belong to her peace, before they are hid from her eyes: That these colonies may be ever under the care and protection of a kind Providence, and be prospered in all their interests; That the divine blessing may descend and rest upon all our civil rulers, and upon the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions, that they may be directed to wise and effectual measures for preserving the union, and securing the just rights and priviledges of the colonies; That virtue and true religion may revive and flourish throughout our land; And that all America may soon behold a gracious interposition of Heaven, for the redress of her many grievances, the restoration of her invaded rights, a reconcilation with the parent state, on terms constitutional and honorable to both; And that her civil and religious privileges may be secured to the latest posterity.
And it is recommended to Christians, of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and to abstain from servile labour and recreations on said day.
June 12, 1775
That was wordy and used formal language, so I simplified the following highlights:
- God was acknowledged as the Governor over all.
- God was noted to influence people to serve His purposes in government.
- Congress recognized the duty of all to acknowledge God's sovereignty, especially in times of danger and tragedies.
- It was also noted as the duty of all to reverence and adore God's never changing justice and ask for His merciful deliverance.
- Congress established a certain Thursday in May for all the inhabitants of the English colonies to humble themselves with fasting and prayer.
- The people were called to come together and make sincere confessions of their many sins.
- The people were asked to unite in prayer to God, ask for His forgiveness, and that He would remove their troubles and keep them from judgements and threats.
- The Congress magnanimously asked God to bless their "rightful sovereign, King George the third." This was especially notable because the proclamation was made after the Revolutionary War had already begun.
- The people were encouraged to pray for God's protection and care as well as for prosperity and blessing.
- The people were directed to pray for rest for all the civil leaders and representatives wherever they gathered.
- The people were asked to pray the union would be preserved and the rights of the colonists would be preserved.
- The people were asked to pray that "virtue and true religion may revive and flourish throughout our land."
- It was recommended that Christians of all denominations gather to assemble for public worship.
Wouldn't it be an amazing thing if our 114th Congress were to make a proclamation as bold as our founding fathers?