Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 3, 1999

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / July 3, 1999

This week, we celebrate America’s 223rd birthday. Most of us will spendall day at a picnic, eating, drinking, playing games, and having a so-called good time. Many will never reflect on what the Founding Fathers stood forwhen declaring our independence.

It may surprise many of our leaders today that the big majority of the men who sacrificed all to give us much were God-fearing men who prayed daily and relied on the Bible for wisdom and direction.

George Washington, known as one of the greatest leaders of all time, prayed daily.

It is recorded that Isaac Potts, a Quaker, came upon Washington while he was on his knees in prayer in the woods. Potts later made the followingremarks to his wife: “If there is anyone on this earth whom the Lord will listen to, it is George Washington; and I feel a presentiment that 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.”On May 6, 1982, President Reagan remarked on this event in his National Day of Prayer proclamation: “The most sublime picture in American history is of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. That image personifies a people whoknow that it is not enough to depend on our own courage and goodness; we must also seek help from God, our Father and Preserver.”In the most difficult of times, Gen. Washington constantly relied upon Godand trusted in Him for success. God was faithful to answer his prayers,and through Washington, He eventually established our independence and secured the beginning of the most free and prosperous nation the world has ever seen.

On June 28, 1787, the Constitutional Convention was on the verge of complete rupture. For over a month, the delegates wrestled with the issueof representation with no breakthroughs, and now patience was wearing thin, emotions were on edge.

A somber George Washington, presiding over this assembly, began to despair of seeing success in the Convention. But the oldest delegate inattendance, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, asked for permission to speak.This was unusual. The 81-year-old Pennsylvanian, up to this point, wroteout his remarks and had someone else read them due to his infirmity. Butthis time, he was stirred to rise and address the delegates himself: “The small progress we have made after four or five weeks..with eachother…is a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the humanunderstanding…In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were inthe dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of fathers to illuminate our understandings? “Have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? “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 man.”When saying the Pledge of Allegiance, we state that we are one nation, under God. Are we really one nation united under God? I think not. Manypeople have become independent of God and that’s our problem.

Today, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin would be labeled: “The Religious Right.”I pray for the return of righteous men like Washington and Franklin, who had the courage and conviction not to be afraid of standing up for God’s law. Remember that a man never stands so tall as when he kneels in prayerto Almighty God.

Happy birthday, America!

NOTE: Some of the information in this article was taken from “America’s Providential History,” written by Mark A. Beliles and Stephen K. McDowell.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur

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