Benjamin Franklin's Constitutional Convention Address on Prayer
American Rhetoric Online Speech Bank ^ | June 28, 1787 | Ben Franklin
Posted on February 7, 2010 3:28:48 PM PST by CondoleezzaProtege
The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other -- our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own wont of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.
In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with G. 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. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that 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 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 be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
APPEAL FOR PRAYER AT CC
As I reflect on the fact that America has lost its way, in terms of trusting in God for the big problems and direction of our country, I looked back to the Constitutional Convention to see how and if they appealed to God. It wasn't hard to find. Benjamin Franklin made an appeal to seek God's guidance in the big task of creating the man made government. His words are eye opening, as to the similar difficulties that mere man faces in governing themselves. The difference then is that they did indeed appeal to God, and the US Constitution was born. That document has carried our country a long way. It's only now when it is being ignored or misunderstood that we are losing our way as a country. We must return to appealing to God for help in our self governance and embrace once again the ideas He inspired in the founding of this great nation.