Saturday, November 22, 2008

Washington's Prayers

While reading a small booklet entitled "What They Believed: The Faith of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln," (written and compiled by the late D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.), I noticed a segment entitled, "His (referring to Washington) Fervent Prayers."

Kennedy wrote:

Washington's prayers underscore his fervent evangelical faith. In one, Washington confesses his "heinous" sins.

O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and and carelessly, that my prayers are become my sins and stand in need of pardon...

His sin was what he perceived to be a lack of fervency in his own prayers.

Or note this prayer:

I have sinned against heaven and before thee, in thought, word, & deed; I have contemned thy majesty and holy laws. I have likewise sinned by omitting what I ought to have done, and committing what I ought not. I have rebelled against the light, despised thy mercies and judgments, and broken my vows and promises; I have neglected the means of Grace, and opportunities of becoming better; my iniquities are multiplied, and my sins are very great. I confess them, O Lord, with shame and sorrow, detestation and loathing, and desire to be vile in my own eyes, as I have rendered myself vile in thine. I humbly beseech thee to be merciful to me in the free pardon of my sins, for the sake of thy dear Son, my only saviour, J.C. [Jesus Christ], who came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance..."

How much more evangelical could any prayer be?

In another prayer, another "grievous" sin is confessed:

I have done thy work, yet it hath been so negligently that I may rather expect a curse than a blessing from thee. But, O God, who art rich in mercy and plenteous in redemption, mark not, I beseech thee, what I have done amiss; remember that I am but dust, and remit my transgressions, negligences & ignorances, and cover them all with the absolute obedience of thy dear Son..."

What was his sin? He had done the work of the Lord, but he had done it negligently, so much so that he asked God to forgive him for the Christian work he had done. Many today, if they do anything at all for God, are demanding some sort of reward from Him!

There are many more incredible prayers that came from Washington's pen, indicating the source, the wellspring of faith in the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, the sacrifice at Calvary, and the perfect righteousness of Christ with which he was clothed.


jeleasure said...

Thanks for sharing this Christine.
It is amazing that a man would commit pen to paper to record his prayers. Why? Journaling is good for spiritual growth. George Washington's fervor is an amazing revolation to me.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Jim,

I'm glad you enjoyed reading Washington's prayers. For such a man of historical great character, he was certainly humble and repentant towards God about his sins.

I have such deep respect for our Founding Fathers. They were highly intelligent, lovers of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and so obviously filled with wisdom regarding God's Word and the affairs of men.

Though not perfect (no one is - except Jesus), compared to today's corrupt politicians, they conducted their lives with the utmost integrity, morality and wisdom.

In Chapter One - The Faith of Washington, Dr. Kennedy wrote:

"First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," said Major General Henry Lee about Washington, after his death. Surely he was that. he led our troops to victory in the Revolutionary War; he superintended the writing of the Constitution; he was unanimously elected first President of the United States. But what made him so great? Was he a great general? A great political philosopher? An administrator? A great tactician or strategist? The truth is that he was none of these. He lived in the day of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon, both of whom far outshone him as military geniuses. He made some rather tragic blunders on the battlefield, but somehow managed to bring our troops through that long and painful war to victory.

His Sterling Character

What then was his secret? Cyrus R. Edmonds said of Washington, "The elements of his greatness are chiefly to be discovered in the moral features of his character." It was said that the character of George Washington was the wonder of the world in his own day. When Washington died, the Duke of Wellington (a British stateman, general, and enemy during the War for Independence) said of him "the purest and noblest character of modern time - possibly of all time." An enemy said that about him!

It makes me yearn for men of character in our modern government of today.