"Prayer at Valley Forge" is one of Sir Laughsalot's favorite stories in his Children's Book Of Heroes.....and I love that he will know about this great man in our history and the great faith he had. Even though there is some debate about whether Washington was actually seen in this exact spot by the farmer, Issac Potts, it is known that Washington did pray often, usually in quiet solitude. There is something so moving and humbling to me about the story and painting... seeing this great man, kneeling before his Maker, submitting to His will and plan.
This article , interviewing author Peter A. Lillback, was in an insert that comes in our town's paper each week. He spent 15 years researching Washington and his writings and speaks of Washington's Christian faith and what kind of leader he would be in modern times. And he speaks of how some historians have tried to downplay Washington's faith.
I find it sad...this movement to de-spiritualize America..making everything "politically correct", so as not to offend anyone...even re-writing history in a lot of ways. This mindset eats away at our roots and culture. I feel the Founding Father's intentions have been warped and highly misconstrued...now making it "Freedom from Religion" instead of "Freedom of Religion." Every culture and country is permeated with its roots- spiritual, cultural, and political..and it shows up in symbolism everywhere. In most other countries, it is something to be respected and preserved, but not in America...there is a Huge underlying movement to remove anything that speaks of our spiritual past...which is Christianity.
Some historians with certain political agendas are trying to de-spiritualize our founding fathers, also. If you do the research yourself...both reading original documents and their correspondences, God was a big factor in their decisions... and their spirituality diffused their lives and their decisions and helped shape their view of government and its role and responsibility. And I think it's not historically accurate to leave that out or downplay it.
Here is an excerpt from another Great American president's proclamations..encouraging a day of fasting and prayer:
"It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in Holy Scripture, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. And, insomuch (sic) as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness." -Abraham Lincoln [March 30, 1863]
Can you imagine if one of our Presidents made a speech like that today? He'd be run out of office. I, for one, am proud of this great faith of our forefathers and believe it is one of the reasons these men were such great leaders and helped our country attain the freedoms we have now. Because of this faith, they believed in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and that "all men are created equal under God". No, our country isn't perfect, neither were the men who founded it. Every culture and country has sordid events in their history... a lot, much worse than America. And things like Slavery, that our country battled so fiercely over, is still going on in many parts of the world (that could be a whole other post, in itself). I think we have unparalleled freedoms and opportunities and I, for one, don't take that lightly or take it for granted.
So in closing... God Bless America!!! :)
Here are some other good links and reads regarding our Forefather's faith and out country's spiritual roots.....
1. American Destiny : http://www.americandestiny.com/index.htm
2. Stand to Reason: The Faith of our Father's :http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5243