A Prayer on Washington’s Birthday

 

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“On April 23, 1891, in the city of Philadelphia, a book of only twenty-four hand-written pages was purchased at public auction…. The tiny volume mentions no hidden treasure, no secret formulas, no quick roads to wealth; rather its title, The Daily Sacrifice, and its contents show that it is a prayer book, with petitions planned for the morning and the evening of each day in the week.

“Listen to only a few of its contrite pleadings:  ‘Pardon, I beseech Thee, my sins, remove them from my presence, as far as the East is from the West, and accept… me for the merits of Thy Son Jesus Christ’!

“‘Remit my transgressions … and cover them all with the absolute obedience of Thy dear Son… Jesus Christ, offered upon the cross for me’!

“‘O blessed Father, let Thy Son’s blood wash me from all impurities… that I may know my sins are forgiven by His death and passion’!

“‘I humbly beseech Thee to be merciful to me in the free pardon of my sins, for the sake of Thy dear Son, my only Savior, Jesus Christ, who came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’.

“Who wrote these reverent prayers, expressing a deep consciousness of sin, yet even more, a victorious faith in the mercy of God’s Son….  These were the prayers of George Washington.”[1]

A Prayer On Washington’s Birthday

 

Dear God of our Christian forefathers, the unseen yet all-powerful Creator of our Union and the Director of its destiny:

On this day, in memory of George Washington’s birth, we praise you for your providence which raised up Christian leaders, such as Washington, the father and the saver of our country.

Bless us today with similar, Christ-confessing statesmen who will govern our Republic wisely in agreement with our Constitution, in order to preserve our civil and religious liberties, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life protected from all enemies both foreign and domestic, both spiritual and political!

To that end, endow our elected representatives with ample wisdom to govern by transforming their minds through your biblical law and gospel passages, as Washington’s was, so that with your divine help they may aspire to act morally and unselfishly in the position entrusted to them!

 

Thank you for all of your past, national mercies!

Forgive us of all our present, national sins and of our national ingratitude toward you!

We pray this prayer with confidence and conviction, heavenly Father, because we pray it according to your stated will, assured by your express promise, and in the blessed name of our divine Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, hear us!  Remember your pledges to help!  Act on them!  Amen!

* *

“If we would preserve our liberty as a nation, we must educate our youth religiously” (George Washington).

* * *

“George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Va., on the 22d of February, 1732.  His father and mother were considered good church-members of the Church of England and had the reputation of being active in its affairs.  His grandfather on his mother’s side was also a vestryman [a layman who, in an assembly of others, would act upon the business of the church].  A number of his ancestors made special gifts to the Church.  He had been baptized within two months of his birth, and how he valued Holy Baptism is shown by the fact that he mentions it in his records.  When still a boy, he wrote some stanzas in honor of Christ’s birth.  Before he was twenty, he was repeatedly chosen as sponsor for the children of his neighbors.  His marriage to Martha Ball was solemnized in the parish-church of which he was a member and a communicant as long as he lived.  It is said that, whenever he had an opportunity, even during his travels and military campaigns, he would attend divine services.  According to the records he was a vestryman of his church for more than twenty years.  His writings indicate that the fear of God was in him.  There is no reason why we should not believe that he was a man like the centurion in the days of St. Peter of whom it is said that he was ‘a devout man and one that feared God’…. He died on the 14th of December, 1799, at Mount Vernon.”[2]

* * *

“Washington was so completely dedicated to his Redeemer that he wrote the Marquis de Lafayette:  ‘I am not ashamed to call myself a Christian, and I earnestly try to be one’.  In a memorial address, commemorating the first President’s death, General [Henry] Lee [III] declared, ‘Washington, the savior of his country, did not disdain to acknowledge and adore his great Savior’.  The United States experienced its mightiest benedictions when its leaders most reverently exalted the Lord Jesus, and, conversely, our heaviest hardships came upon us when we opposed and neglected the Gospel of His grace….

“The climax in Washington’s struggle for our liberty came … when our cause seemed hopelessly lost.   Many of our troops perished in below-zero weather at Valley Forge; others, half-starved and only thinly clad, were being urged to desert.  In comfort and warmth at Philadelphia, Americans, enemies of Christ, attacked Washington, trying to undermine his leadership.  Now, where did our country’s father find strength to carry on?  His officers noted that once every day, often after their staff meetings, Washington would walk into a secluded, near-by woods – but for what purpose none of them knew.  Then one day pro-British Isaac Potts, a millowner and minister, passing through that grove, heard a solemn, pleading voice, and stopped.  Peering through the thickets, he saw Washington, commander-in-chief of our revolutionary forces, kneeling in earnest prayers, tears streaming down his cheeks.  Reverently Isaac Potts listened to the end of the intercession, and then, as Washington arose, he quickly returned to his home, no longer a Tory, but pledged to the American cause; for, he wrote, ‘If there is anyone on this earth to whom the Lord will listen, it is to George Washington… Under such a commander there can be no doubt of our eventually establishing our independence, and that God in His providence has willed it so’.”[3]

“Do you believe that Christ is your God and Savior?  George Washington had the victorious faith which unhesitatingly and uncompromisingly answered ‘Yes’, and it brought him power, guidance, blessing, and finally heaven…. Have Christ’s assurance chiseled on Washington’s granite tomb at Mount Vernon, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’.”[4]

 

[1] Walter A. Maier, Go Quickly and Tell (Saint Louis:  Concordia, 1950), page 63.

[2] Martin S. Sommer, “Bicentennial of the Birth of George Washington,” The Concordia Pulpit for 1932, Martin S. Sommer Editor-in-Chief (Saint Louis:  Concordia, 1931), page 501.

[3]Maier, 64-65.

[4] Maier, 80f.