In June of 1775, the Continental Congress issued the following proclamation, requesting a day of fasting and prayer.
“This Congress, therefore, considering the present critical, alarming, and calamitous state of these Colonies, do earnestly recommend that, Thursday, the twentieth day of July next, be observed by the inhabitants of all the English Colonies on this Continent, as a day of publick 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 for 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 inspire him with wisdom to discern and pursue the true interest of all his subjects…”
The proclamation goes on to list some of the desired outcomes of such an observance:
“…that these Colonies may be ever under the care and protection of a kind Providence”
“…that the divine blessing may descend and rest upon all our civil rulers”
“…that virtue virtue and true religion may revive and flourish throughout our land”
“…that her civil and religious privileges may be secured to the latest posterity”
Reading these words, I was amazed to see that the same men who went on to lead the American Revolution would ask the colonies to pray for King George the Third. Wasn’t he a tyrant? Should they not have prayed for his downfall? Quite the opposite, they asked for God’s blessing on the man. May God help us to embrace no less of a humble and generous spirit today. Whether we are thrilled or dismayed by the actions of our national leaders, God has charged us to pray for them. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, the Apostle Paul declares:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
It’s easy to criticize. It’s easy to grow cynical. It’s hard to pray. And yet nothing is more effectual than prayer in transforming the culture of our nation, that we might be a people who collectively glorify the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Whether on your commute home from work or with your family over dinner, I invite you to join me today in praying for our leaders in Washington. Ask God to empower them to govern humbly and to lead wisely, so that we might proclaim and live out the truth of the gospel without hindrance or fear.