First Continental Congress In Prayer
Despite what American History revisionists might have you believe, prayer was of singular importance in the American struggle for independence. The First Continental Congress was comprised of delegates from all the colonies except Georgia. They met for the first time in September 1774. John Adams wrote a letter to his wife in which he described the spiritual aspect of this first meeting as the Revolutionary War for Independence lay ahead:
“When the Congress met, Mr. Cushing made a motion that it should be opened with prayer. It was opposed by Mr. Jay of New York and Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina because we were so divided in religious sentiments — some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Anabaptists, some Presbyterians, and some Congregationalists — that we could not join in the same act of worship.
“Mr. Samuel Adams arose and said that he was no bigot, and could hear a prayer from any gentleman of piety and virtue who was at the same time a friend to his country. He moved that Mr. Duche, an Episcopal clergyman, might read prayers to Congress the next morning. The motion was seconded and passed in the affirmative.
“Accordingly, next morning the Rev. Duche appeared with his Episcopal vestments and read the 85th Psalm. I never saw a greater effect produced upon an audience. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that psalm to be read on that morning.
“George Washington was kneeling there, alongside him Patrick Henry, James Madison, and John Hancock. By their side there stood, bowed in reverence, the Puritan patriots of New England, who at that moment had reason to believe that an armed soldiery was wasting their humble households. They prayed fervently for America, for Congress, for the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially for the town of Boston [whose port was closed and occupied by British troops].
“And who can realize the emotions with which they turned imploringly to heaven for divine help. It was enough to melt a heart of stone. I saw the tears gush into the eyes of the old, grave, pacifist Quakers of Philadelphia.”
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church Leadership, Culture, Education, Founding Fathers, Freedom, Government, History, Patriotism, Prayer | Tagged: American Revolution, Episcopal Church, First Continental Congress, George Washington, James Madison, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, United States | 3 Comments »