Dependence on God
When the Continental Congress of 1774 met to begin the formation of a free republic, they didn’t rely on their business acumen, on their well-known faces, or on their own merits as great orators. They relied on prayer and the guidance of God, and historical records confirm this. John Adams described how at the first meeting, the first order of business was to request that a minister of solid reputation be invited to open the deliberations with prayer, not with great speeches or people-pleasing platitudes, but with humble requests for God’s guiding hand in all their deliberations.
It was Reverend Jacob Duche of Philadelphia’s Christ Church who was called. Although a few, according to Adams, objected to the particular religion of the minister, in the end, all agreed that it was the prayer that was necessary. Adams continues to describe the prayer’s effect by saying that he had never seen such a pronounced response from an audience even at church. The attitude of the entire group changed, says Adams. They understood the 31st Psalm read by Duche and took heed as he applied the words to the group: “In you, O Lord, we put our trust; let us not be ashamed (v.1), and in verse 5 that they commit their spirit to the Lord, adding “be Thou our rock for a house of defense to save us”(v2). Thus, says Adams (and so did Washington) the whole assembly bowed in humble guidance to the Lord’s leading.
What became of that prayerful beginning need not be retold. Jacob Duche admonished the men of that Congress of 1774, as described by Webster:
“Some were kneeling, some standing, but all praying, and looking toward Heaven for wisdom and counsel in this hour of doubt, anxiety, and responsibility; Washington, Henry, and others kneeling, and all invoking wisdom from above.”
Another curious bit of history rarely told is that this same Continental Congress passed a motion (on July 15, 1775) that required them to attend divine service as a body (all of them together), sometimes twice a day!
What God wrought from that humble prayer beginning He can restore if men of God will lead and will seek His guidance on their knees.