"Have We Now Forgotten?..."
--a plea for Congressional prayer--
by Jimmy Fields

What you read below was part of an address made by Benjamin Franklin to General George Washington and the assembly of delegates who, in the Summer of 1787, had met in Philadelphia to “form a more perfect union.” I would to God that the thoughts and concepts expressed by Franklin 220 years ago could find root in the hearts of our governing officials today, as they daily are faced with monumental and life-altering decisions.

“How has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbling applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? 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... And have we now forgotten that 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 interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages ...

“I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business...”

When the first Constitutional Congress convened in 1789, Franklin’s recommendation was put into operation, a practice which continues today.

Franklin’s words, however, are just as applicable to each of us in our own private endeavors, in our families, in our vocations, in the local church of which we are a part. How could we think of not daily seeking the Father’s help and guidance? Our Lord Himself taught “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).