Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Washingtons Prayer

I ran across this today in the opening pages of the Army and Navy Song and Service Book for Ship and Field, published in 1942.  It is an open letter, written by George Washington, to the governors of all the states, upon the disbanding of the revolutionary army in 1783.  The ending is Washington's prayer for the nation, that he desired to be read in the presence of each state legislators.
I have thus freely declared what I wished to make known, before I surrendered up my public trust to those who committed it to me. The task is now accomplished. I now bid adieu to your Excellency, as the chief magistrate of your State, at the same time I bid a last farewell to the cares of office and all the employments of public life.

It remains, then, to be my final and only request that your Excellency will communicate these sentiments to your legislature at their next meeting, and that they may be considered the legacy of one, who has ardently wished, on all occasions, to be useful to his country, and who, even in the shade of retirement, will not fail to implore the divine benediction on it.

Almighty God, we make it our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy Protection, that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to the government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.

And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.

Grant our supplications, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  
(Written at Newburg, and sent to the Governors of all the States on the Disbanding of the Army, June 14, 1783)

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