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The First Prayer in U.S. Congress

Offered on September 7th, 1774, by Pastor Jacob Duche in Carpenters Hall, Philadelphia

"Lord our Heavenly Father,

     "High and Mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech thee, on these our American States, who have fled to thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent on Thee, to Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give.

     "Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!

    "Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst Thy people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds. Shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come.

    "All this we ask In the Name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen."

Details about The First Prayer in Congress

The painting above is titled First Prayer in Congress.  It shows that

     "the President of this Assembly, Peyton Randolph of Virginia, has left his high station and takes the lowest position in the painting.  He is in the foreground on the left with his face covered by his own hands, appearing to bow more deeply than the others.  Next to him is Washington, the only one facing the same direction as Reverend Duche, implying an accord with Godís vision.  He stands out with a darker suit than those around him, indicating his emerging leadership role.

    "One scrap of paper occupies center stage; perhaps this is the message they just received that Boston was being shelled by the British.    The other papers and books look like they are all about to fall, perched on the edge of their tables.  Perhaps these represent manís worldly concerns and they are suspended precariously in wait as the men turn their attention to the more pressing need to be with God."

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross..."  Hebrews 12:1-2

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