On June 12, 1775, the Continental Congress, locked in deliberations,called for a "day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer" wherein"[we] offer up our joint supplications to the all-wise, omnipotentand merciful disposer of all events." In compliance with this day ofprayer and fasting, Congress attended an Anglican service in themorning and a Presbyterian service in the afternoon. M. StantonEvans, in his great book "The Theme Is Freedom," wrote, "Elsewherearound the country, religious ceremonies in response to this appealwere many and reiterated." Imagine if our nation would follow in thesteps of our Founders, by beseeching God in the important affairs ofthe nation.
Our Founders were unafraid to acknowledge their humble reliance onGod. Remember, this was the very same Congress that, upon becomingaware that supplies of Bibles had been cut off from England, adopteda resolution stating that "it be recommended to such of the stateswho may think it convenient for them that they take proper measuresto procure one or more new and correct editions of the Old and NewTestaments to be printed...." That's right. Congress requested andauthorized the printing of the Bible!
Our Founders, great men who--like us all--were also flawed men,understood the need for godly wisdom in their earnest pursuit of afree land. They understood the need for the people to remaincommitted to biblical values. And they painstakingly understoodtheir need for heavenly guidance in their work as architects of thenew America. Our nation's early history is overflowing with words ofmen who cherished their relationship with God and stood proudly incalling for His bearing in their pursuits.
Influential Founder Benjamin Franklin stated: "I have lived a longtime, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of thistruth--that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrowcannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that anempire can rise without His aid?"
Statesman Daniel Webster, who served as secretary of state underPresidents Harrison, Tyler, and Fillmore, stated, "If the power of theGospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of this land,anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness,will reign without mitigation or end."
In other words, if God's people do not remain committed to affectingour social and political cultures, our nation will not last. It isalready failing in many regards because we have not remainedconscientious in preserving the faith of our Fathers.William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, warned us of theconsequences should people of faith relinquish their rightful role inthe political process. "If we will not be governed by God," hecautioned, "we must be governed by tyrants."
The great American lexicographer Noah Webster stated, "In my view,the Christian religion is the most important and one of the firstthings in which all children, under a free government, ought to beinstructed. The Christian religion must be the basis of anygovernment intended to secure the rights and privileges of a freepeople."
More than two centuries after our eminent Forefathers set thestandard for our participation in the political experience, oursovereign God remains faithful and true. Our faith remains in a Godwho shed His grace on this nation and who can once again work throughHis people to bring revival in the land. It is up to God's people topray for our nation and diligently work to ensure that the principleson which America was founded do not end up in the garbage heap ofhistory--no matter who our next president is. As we collectivelyoffer thanks to God for His bountiful blessings throughout thisThanksgiving weekend, may we all embody the words of Abraham Lincoln,who wrote in 1863--while the nation was torn apart in civil war--this "Thanksgiving Proclamation":
"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked outthese great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God,who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath neverthelessremembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that theyshould be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as withone heart and voice by the whole American People. I do thereforeinvite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, andalso those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreignlands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next,as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father whodwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offeringup the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverancesand blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our nationalperverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all thosewho have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in thelamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, andfervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal thewounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistentwith the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony,tranquillity and Union."