Date: 6/8/2006 11:28:11 PM ( 16 y ) ... viewed 2124 times
In my research, I came across numerous proclamations which indicated that in our relatively recent past, fasting and prayer were sanctioned and encouraged by the United States government. Amazingly, in 1863, Lincoln signed a resolution which asked the entire nation to commit to a day of fasting and prayer. Other states, at different times, would implore their constituents, regardless of religious affiliation to fast and pray.
It made me reflect on our government and the state of our nation and how with hindsight, we slowly but surely abolished a powerful tradition which served to keep us honest and filled us with hope and acknowledged a connection to Source and God in the solidarity and observance of fasting.
In this current time of national trial and disillusionment, I realized that I wanted to make one of the focuses of my fast, a symbolic gesture which fuses my spiritual needs with my physical needs. The earth is a planet hungry for peace. If, by fasting, and keeping a prayerful attitude, I could align my will with peace and healing, this is something I desire to include as a personal commitment.
I do not expect it to make a difference to anyone, but it will make a difference to me. I harken to my youth when my passion to understand and be a part of our democracy was magnanimous, and how I pled allegiance to the flag daily and said the words, "one nation under God". So as an act of fidelity, in the quiet moments when I am mentally connecting the dots between our past, where our leaders today have brought us, and where we are headed as we face the future, I want to include prayer for peace with the healing of my body and spirit.
National Day of Fasting Proclaimed
March 30, 1863
Senator James Harlan of Iowa, whose daughter later married President Lincoln's son Robert, introduced this Resolution in the Senate on March 2, 1863. The Resolution asked President Lincoln to proclaim a national day of prayer and fasting. The resolution was adopted on March 3 and signed by Lincoln on March 30.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation.
And whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, 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 the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements 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 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 blessingswere 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.
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the thirtieth day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine preaching, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this theirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.
BY THE PRESIDENT: ALRAHAM lINCOLN
WILLIAM SEWARD, SECRETARY OF STATE
Source: The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler.
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