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, omnipotent and merciful disposer of all events." In compliance with this day of prayer and fasting, Congress attended an Anglican service in the morning and a Presbyterian service in the afternoon. M. Stanton Evans, in his great book "The Theme Is Freedom," wrote, "Elsewhere around the country, religious ceremonies in response to this appeal were many and reiterated." Imagine if our nation would follow in the steps of our Founders, by beseeching God in the important affairs of the nation.
Our Founders were unafraid to acknowledge their humble reliance on God. Remember, this was the very same Congress that, upon becoming aware that supplies of Bibles had been cut off from England, adopted a resolution stating that "it be recommended to such of the states who may think it convenient for them that they take proper measures to procure one or more new and correct editions of the Old and New Testaments to be printed...." That's right. Congress requested and authorized 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 a free land. They understood the need for the people to remain committed to biblical values. And they painstakingly understood their need for heavenly guidance in their work as architects of the new America. Our nation's early history is overflowing with words of men who cherished their relationship with God and stood proudly in calling for His bearing in their pursuits.
Influential Founder Benjamin Franklin stated: "I have lived a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this 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?"
Statesman Daniel Webster, who served as secretary of state under Presidents Harrison, Tyler, and Fillmore, stated, "If the power of the Gospel 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 affecting our social and political cultures, our nation will not last. It is already failing in many regards because we have not remained conscientious in preserving the faith of our Fathers. William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, warned us of the consequences should people of faith relinquish their rightful role in the political process. "If we will not be governed by God," he cautioned, "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 first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. The Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people."
More than two centuries after our eminent Forefathers set the standard for our participation in the political experience, our sovereign God remains faithful and true. Our faith remains in a God who shed His grace on this nation and who can once again work through His people to bring revival in the land. It is up to God's people to pray for our nation and diligently work to ensure that the principles on which America was founded do not end up in the garbage heap of history--no matter who our next president is. As we collectively offer thanks to God for His bountiful blessings throughout this Thanksgiving 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 out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."