“At every crucial turning point in our history Americans have faced and overcome great odds, strengthened by spiritual faith. The Plymouth settlers triumphed over hunger, disease, and a cruel northern wilderness because, in the words of William Bradford, ‘They knew they were pilgrims. So they committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed.’
George Washington knelt in prayer at Valley Forge and in the darkest days of our struggle for independence said that ‘the fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army.’
Thomas Jefferson, perhaps the wisest of our Founding Fathers, had no doubt about the source from which our cause was derived. ‘The God who gave us life,’ he declared, ‘gave us liberty…’
And nearly a century later, in the midst of a tragic and at times seemingly hopeless Civil War, Abraham Lincoln vowed ‘that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.’
It’s said that prayer can move mountains. Well, it’s certainly moved the hearts and minds of Americans in their times of trial and helped them to achieve a society that, for all its imperfections, is still the envy of the world and the last, best hope of mankind.
And just as prayer has helped us as a nation, it helps us as individuals. In nearly all our lives, there are moments when our prayers and the prayers of our friends and loved ones help to see us through and keep on the right path. In fact, prayer is one of the few things in this world that hurts no one and sustains the spirit of millions.
The Founding Fathers felt this so strongly that they enshrined the principle of freedom of religion in the first amendment of the Constitution. The purpose of that amendment was to protect religion from the interference of government and to guarantee, in its own words, ‘the free exercise of religion.’ ”
– President Ronald Reagan,
excerpts from his “Radio Address to the Nation on Prayer”, 1982