Washington Calls for National Prayer

posted in: Prayer | 0
Share
G_WashingtonOn February 19, 1795, President George Washington Called for National Prayer:

It is…our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.

Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States to set apart and observe the 19th day of February, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the Great Ruler of Nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation, particularly for the possession of constitutions of government which unite and by their union establish liberty with order; for the preservation of our peace, foreign and domestic; for the seasonable control which has been given to a spirit of disorder in the suppression of the late insurrection, and generally, for the prosperous course of our affairs, public and private; and at the same time humbly and fervently to beseech the kind Author of these blessings graciously to prolong them to us; to imprint on our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations to Him for them; to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value; to preserve us from the arrogance of prosperity, and from hazarding the advantages we enjoy by delusive pursuits; to dispose us to merit the continuance of His favors by not abusing them; by our gratitude for them, and by a correspondent conduct as citizens and men; to render this country more and more a safe and propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other countries; to extend among us true and useful knowledge; to diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, morality, and piety, and finally, to impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind.

– President George Washington, 1795

As a response, Pastor Thomas Baldwin of the 2nd Baptist Church of Boston began his sermon:

In obedience to the call of the President of the United States, we are now, my brethren, assembled in the house of God to offer thanksgiving and prayer to the “great Ruler of nations, for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation” [a direct quote from the 1795 Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by President George Washington]. And as God is this day publicly to be praised in the assemblies of His people, I have thought the [Bible] passage now read might be a suitable foundation of our present meditations.

This beautiful psalm, whoever might be the penman of it, is evidently designed to set forth the power and goodness of God in such an amiable [agreeable] light as to excite our confidence, awaken our gratitude, and warm the devout passions of the soul with sacred joy.

If we contemplate God either in His word or works, we shall find abundant matter for joy and thankfulness: “For the word of the Lord is right, and all His works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment; the earth is full of goodness of the Lord” [Psalm 33:4-5].

From this view of the righteousness, equity, and benevolence of the Divine government, the pious psalmist was led to exclaim, as in the text; “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom He hath chosen for his own inheritance.” That we may more fully enter into the spirit of the text, we shall attempt:

I. To show when it may be said of a nation that “the Lord is their God” – to consider what evidence a people may have that the Lord has chosen.

II. To consider what evidence a people may have that the Lord hath chosen them for His inheritance.

III. That we may infer the duty and obligations of a people thus favored and blessed (in illustrating of which we shall attend to several particulars contained in the proclamation).

Comments are closed.