Call to prayer from the Continental Congress

Very often, in the early days of our nation, Congress would call for a day of “fasting, humiliation, and prayer.”  (Google the phrase and compare the resolutions from the Continental Congress through Lincoln.)  This was the kind of resolution that led to the holiday of Thanksgiving.  (I’ll post Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation tomorrow.)

After the jump, I’ve posted a resolution from the Continental Congress passed on March 20, 1779, in the midst of the War for Independence.  (The victory at the Battle of Yorktown, in which the British army was decisively defeated, would take place two years later, though the Treaty of Paris ending the war would not be signed until 1783.)

My point in doing so is not to open the debate about whether America or any other nation can be a “Christian country” or to discuss “civil religion.”  I’m just struck by the language of the resolution, the richness of the Biblical allusions, and the earnest tone of humility (that this war is a “just punishment of our manifold transgressions”). [Read more...]

FDR’s D-Day Prayer

Once D-Day was underway, 70 years ago, President Roosevelt got on the radio and asked the American public to join him in this prayer:.

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph. [Read more...]

Supreme Court allows Christian prayers in public meetings

The Supreme Court has ruled that public meetings, including those involving local governments, may feature distinctly Christian prayers, including those that are in the name of Jesus. [Read more...]

George Herbert on prayer

We blogged about Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, who wrote about how  she was converted from atheism in part through the poetry of George Herbert.  She is following that up with a series of articles in the London Guardian about specific Herbert poems.  That’s literary scholarship as it’s supposed to be–not a mere academic exercise but an exploration of literature for the purpose of illumination.

Read her take on Herbert’s poem “Prayer (1)”.  Read the poem at the link, and then read her discussion, linked and excerpted after the jump. [Read more...]

“The Lord sustains my life”

A Nigerian ship sank to the bottom of the Atlantic.  Three days later, divers went down to recover the bodies.  As a diver reached out to a floating hand, the hand grabbed him.  A man survived, thanks to an air pocket and a bottle of Coke.  And, of course, God.  All through his ordeal, he was praying the Psalm, texted to him by his wife:  “Oh God, by your name, save me. … The Lord sustains my life.”

After the jump, read the details and watch the dramatic video of the rescue, which includes the hand and the diver’s reaction when it grabs him. [Read more...]

Obama administration defends government-sponsored Christian prayers

The Supreme Court is hearing a case that will decide whether or not it is constitutional for a city council to begin with an explicitly Christian prayer.  Surprisingly to both sides, the Obama administration has filed a brief defending the city council being sued and arguing that the government should not determine the content of someone’s prayer. [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X