Let’s not criticize political candidates who pray
Some liberals have recently penned letters and editorials poking fun at certain candidates for praying.
One candidate recently prayed “for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right …That’s what we have to make sure that we are praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.” So what is wrong with our leaders praying?
George Washington repeatedly asked for prayers from “… all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will (and to ask) for His protection and favor.” (Oct. 3, 1789)
Abraham Lincoln said, “God knows how sincerely I prayed,” (Oct. 30, 1858) and asked the nation to “renew our trust in God …” (July 4, 1861). In his final Emancipation Proclamation (Jan. 1, 1863) he invoked “the gracious favor of Almighty God.” Abraham Lincoln prayed not that God was on our side, but that we would be on God’s side.
In Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (March 1865), he repeatedly invoked the name of God and requested the nation to “fervently do we pray” for the end of the war unless “if God wills otherwise.” With his famous words which may be more familiar “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right,” he prayed for the end of the war.
General Douglas MacArthur (1946) ended the Japanese surrender saying, “Let us pray that peace be restored to the world, and that God will preserve it always.”
American high school history books now omit most references to God (politically incorrect) but Franklin D. Roosevelt’s prayer June 6, 1944, for six and one-half minutes asked the nation to “Join with me in prayer: Almighty God, our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity …” He called upon prayer to lead our soldiers “straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, and steadfastness in their faith.”
President Harry S Truman’s Inaugural Address (1949) asked the nation to “proclaim to the world the essential principles of the faith by which we live …that the American people stand firm in the faith which has inspired this nation from the beginning … From this state we will not be moved.”
Don’t forget the words of John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” He concluded, “Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.” Sounds like he was praying and asking the nation to pray with him.
Martin Luther King in his “I Have a Dream speech implored, “… the glory of the Lord shall be revealed … When all of God’s children can join hands to sing thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” (Aug. 23, 1963)
Lyndon B. Johnson asked for prayers for himself quoting, “…in the words of the ancient leader Solomon for wisdom and knowledge.” (Jan. 20, 1965).
After Sept. 11, 2001, our nation’s leaders offered prayers for our nation (Sept. 13, 2001).
Our nation has a long history and heritage of asking for prayer and professing our faith in God. History has recorded the prayers of nearly, if not all, of our presidents and leaders, in both peacetime and wartime. We even have a National Day of Prayer.
I don’t think we should criticize candidates for praying. If anything, we should encourage them to start praying even more. And while we’re at it, it might be well for all of us to pray for the protection of our nation and that God Bless America. (Dee Wampler is an activist Christian attorney and author. He is a state board member of the Missouri Christian Coalition and a member of Second Baptist Church, Springfield.)