On March 16, 1776 the Continental Congress issued a proclamation, calling for a time of fasting and prayer. The following is an excerpt of that proclamation.
“In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity. . . Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies.”
What an incredible proclamation! God was surely honored and pleased by those words, many of which came directly from the Bible. God heard and answered the prayers of His people in early America, as shortly thereafter the Declaration of Independence was drafted, signed, and declared. The result was the birth of a free nation who recognized their dependence on God. We would do well to read this proclamation over and again, taking time to jot dot down key words, look up the references in Scripture, and apply them to this season of prayer and fasting. Words and phrases such as providence (recognizing the sovereignty of God), confession, repentance (penitence), devotion, bewail (be sorry for), and “humbly imploring his assurance,” clearly shows their dependence and confidence in God to answer their prayers. They didn’t just say IN GOD WE TRUST, they lived it! Let’s pray humbly, boldly, and confidently for America over the next several weeks.
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jeremiah 17:7)
“Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17).