Throughout our history as a nation, there have been leaders—both militarily and politically—who have sought the help of a Divine Creator that is merciful and kind to those who call on Him in times of severe conflict and distress. Numerous times American leaders (Washington, Adams, Gen. Livingston, Jefferson, Gov. Hancock, Madison, Taylor, Buchanan, Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Nixon, Reagan, etc.) have called for a Day of Prayer, Fasting, and Humiliation; and numerous times those prayers have been answered.
I recently had the opportunity to read the book, Miracles in American History, 32 Amazing Stories of Answered Prayer authored by Susie Federer and adapted from her husband William’s radio program American Minutes. William Federer is a Missourian, born and raised in south St. Louis. He traces his roots back to Neosho where his maternal grandparents lived.
Federer’s book is almost impossible to put down once one begins to read it. It is filled with example after example of historical events and inspirational accounts of what happened when leaders called upon God for help and wisdom. Missouri’s only president, Harry Truman, said when he declared August 16,1945 as a National Day of Prayer, “The warlords of Japan… have surrendered unconditionally… This is the end of the…schemes of dictators that enslave the peoples of the world… Our global victory… has come with the help of God… Let us… dedicate ourselves to following in His ways.”
WWII left a death toll of over 70 million military and civilians on all sides. While lighting the National Christmas Tree on December 24, 1946, President Truman made this comment: “Our… hopes of future years turn to a little town in the hills of Judea, where on a winter night 2,000 years ago, the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled. Shepherds keeping watch by night over their flock heard the glad tidings of great joy when the angels of the Lord sang, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth good will to men.’” He went on to say that in this great country of ours has been demonstrated the fundamental unity of Christianity and democracy. It was in 1952 that President Truman made the National Day of Prayer an annual event and stated, “In times of national crisis when we are striving to strengthen the foundation of peace… we stand in special need of Divine support.”
In the difficult times of today when our present president deviates from basically every other preceding president by discontinuing the tradition of a National Day of Prayer at the White House and declaring that our nation is no longer a Christian nation, our past Missouri president’s example stands up as one of firmness and respect in the protective power of the Almighty to guide and guard our country.
On October 28, 1998, at the age of 77, astronaut John Glenn was aboard the space shuttle Discovery, becoming the oldest person to ever go into space. It was 36 years before when Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. On his return to space, Glenn observed the heaven and the earth from his window and stated: “To look at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible. It just strengthens my faith.”
As we move on into the Holiday Season, I wish everyone the best. It is my hope that for generations to come Americans will always be free to worship and to celebrate the true Creator of Heaven and Earth. Even though we do not now have an established Day of Prayer, the Lord tells us that if we will turn from our evil ways and turn to Him, humble ourselves, and pray, He will hear our prayer and heal our land. Join me in praying for our nation’s hope and her healing.
Merry Christmas, and may God bless America.