Writer says it is time America ‘takes a knee’
I believe that it is time that every American “take a knee.” WAIT! I do not mean that any American should so disrespect the greatest nation in the world and those who have given so much to make America a haven of freedom for so many that he would refuse to stand at the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner. No, I believe that every American should be on their knees before God praying for our nation as each day, it seems, brings new challenges, more fear. We see the chaos, the violence, the destruction. We are reminded constantly that the virus is out there ready to kill us. We hear so much contradiction that the truth seems elusive. Everything seems to create division rather than unity among us. At a time when we need it most, many churches are closed, either by government edict or by fear.
On Thursday, June 28, 1787, leaders of our just birthed Nation had come to a heated impasse during the writing of the Constitution. The following are words of wisdom from Benjamin Franklin as recorded by the convention’s secretary James Madison: “Mr. President, The small progress we have made after four or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other—our different sentiments on almost every question several of the last producing as many noes as ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed modern states all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
“In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the 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 lights to illuminate our understanding! In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence, we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And 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 men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interest; our projects will be confounded; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
“I therefore beg leave to move—that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.”
From that time forth prayers have opened both houses of Congress, and on Sept. 8, 1787, with the help of God, our Constitution was birthed.
Should we not follow Franklin’s wisdom under our trying circumstances and be on our knees before God in prayer for our nation?