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Friday, August 04, 2017

Prayer and the Constitution

By Douglas V. Gibbs
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The Constitutional Convention was held during the Summer of 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  During the first four to five weeks, very little was accomplished because of the bickering between the delegates over the issues of the day, and how those issues needed to be addressed on the pages of the new constitution.

During the fighting, Benjamin Franklin, the elder statesman at age 81, listened intently, but did not say a word.  Then, when the time came, he said, "Something is missing."

The room quieted as he adjusted his round-rimmed glasses.

"We were on our knees during the Revolutionary War, and only through His Favor can we account for the victory...have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or, do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance?”

"Now, during this critical time in history should we not consult the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?”

Benjamin Franklin was not known to be a religious man. He admitted that in his younger years he did not give much thought to the credence of the existence of God. But, as he had grown older, his observations were telling him otherwise. To explain this, Franklin said, “I have lived, Sir, 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?”

Without God, he assured his fellow delegates, “We labor in vain.”

Benjamin Franklin then recommended that the delegates pray before each session of the convention.

After the motion was seconded, an interesting development occurred.

Alexander Hamilton, and a number of others who shared his political views calling for a stronger central government, expressed their apprehensions about praying before each session of the convention.  Hamilton quipped sarcastically, "We don't need foreign aid."

Hamilton's allies were a small percentage of the overall delegation, and after four days of debate regarding prayer, nearly all of the delegates, who were of various denominations, mind you, agreed that no clergy could be hired, partly due to a lack of funds.  However, refusing to allow that to stop them from seeking God’s Will before continuing, a majority of the delegates walked to the nearest church, and congregated there for a prayer, and continued to do so before each session.

That is when the miracle happened.  The Constitution was not off to a good start, until those men turned to God in prayer.  Then, once they turned to God together, the second greatest document, second only to the Holy Bible, was written, ordained, and established.

Later, during America’s journey, based on Franklin’s request, the tradition of prayer before each session of Congress was initiated, and has been in place ever since.

In the opinion of a majority of the founders, a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence was an important key to the success of America, and it continues to be an integral part in maintaining the essence of liberty.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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