Once upon a time, a really special time…
The very first year the United States of America had a federal Constitution, a Congress, and a President…
The Congress passed a resolution telling the President that he ought to tell all of the Americans to set aside a day, all on the same day, specifically for the purpose of praying to God, to thank Him.
So he did, and they did. And that was our first national Thanksgiving Day.
Here is what our president wrote:
By the President of the United States of America—
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their Joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us—and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
When I read that, I see a list of prayer requests.
Our family read that proclamation, and then prayed according to the prayer requests George Washington instructed us to pray for.
What would happen if all of the God-fearing folks set aside a day each year to give God thanks, and pray for their nations according to this prayer request list? God sovereignly reigns over all, so I’m not suggesting some magic trick to fix all of our problems. What I’m saying is: God sovereignly reigns over all, and if He is pleased to answer the prayers of His beloved ones who pray to Him all together on a special day set aside for that purpose, do you think Klaus Schwab and Bill Gates could do anything to stop Him from carrying out His designs?
I love Thanksgiving; I always have; and with each passing year, I love it more. Our family has some great Thanksgiving traditions (and a fantastic cornbread dressing recipe on its 5th generation now, a culinary highlight of every year). But these instructions from George Washington about how we ought to pray on our national day of Thanksgiving is hands-down the best idea I’ve ever heard for Thanksgiving, and I hope to make it our first priority for this holiday, from this time forward.
May God grant our nation (and our sister nations) forgiveness for our national sins. Happy Thanksgiving, you guys; may God be merciful and bless us. Amen.
Thanks for dropping by; please keep us in prayer!