George Washington’s prayer when he first retired from public life

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Aug 3, 2009 5 Comments ›› Ben DuPré

George Washington’s prayer when he first retired from public life

(http://www NULL.morallaw the Revolutionary War, in June 1783, George Washington sent a circular letter to the state executives (http://oll NULL.libertyfund NULL.php?title=2069&chapter=156138&layout=html&Itemid=27) as a sort of farewell address, or so he thought. Washington was at once a great patriot whose life and energies were expended in the long service of his country, and also he was a man who repeatedly (and gladly) laid aside the trappings of rank and office to return to, as he put it,

“that domestic retirement, which, it is well known, I left with the greatest reluctance, a Retirement, for which I have never ceased to sigh through a long and painful absence, and in which (remote from the noise and trouble of the World) I meditate to pass the remainder of life in a state of undisturbed repose.”

His repose was, of course, not undisturbed, for he would be called to preside over the Constitutional Convention and then serve two terms as our first President under the Constitution.  The term limit was his idea, as he stepped down from the post even as many called for him to be made a king.  When the fledgling United States called, Washington always answered—but never took more authority than he was given.

In the circular letter before his temporary retirement after the War for Independence, Washington demonstrates that in stepping down he was not turning has back to the affairs of his country. He continued:

But before I carry this resolution into effect, I think it a duty incumbent on me, to make this my last official communication, to congratulate you on the glorious events which Heaven has been pleased to produce in our favor, to offer my sentiments respecting some important subjects, which appear to me, to be intimately connected with the tranquility of the United States….

Washington went on to address several matters regarding government and military issues, and offering suggestions in his gracious manner.

Washington concluded the circular letter by asking the state executives to forward the letter to their respective state legislatures “as 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 upon it.”  Indeed, he did not fail to again seek God’s blessing in the letter, as he did before and would do in so again in official and unofficial addresses and communications.

Here, in its entirety is Washington’s prayer in the concluding paragraph (http://www NULL.loc NULL.jpg), in what he thought would be his last official act in the service of his country.

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would 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 Characteristicks 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.

Just as this letter shows Washington’s love of country and humble self-sacrifice, the conclusion demonstrates with his words that he held up Jesus Christ as the example to follow in the characteristics of “Charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind.” Moreover, his use of “our” in referring to Christ as “the Divine Author of our blessed Religion” indicates that Washington counted himself among those who followed Christ, i.e., Christians.

We can be thankful that this was not Washington’s farewell address, but his letter reminds of how much he had already given to his country in 1783 and Who he thought the leaders of the fledgling United States should humbly imitate to make us into “a happy Nation.”

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  1. OFT (http://www NULL.ourfoundingtruth NULL.blogspot says:

    Religion” indicates that Washington counted himself among those who followed Christ, i.e., Christians.>

    Making a definitive statement on Washington’s faith has a lot more to do than the above statement. I doubt he believed in the fundamentals of Christianity, for he walked out of communion for ten years. He obviously denied the Blood Atonement by walking out, which would exempt him from attaining salvation.

  2. Linda Templet says:

    Why are we so dumb and ignorant about this word “Religion”? Are we not open minded people? Religion is a troublemaker as we can all see. This word has caused much confussion and turmoil in our government and in peoples lives because Each of us have our very own religious organization or society that we love. adore, believe in and follow after.

    Churches are only Teachers of one specific Book. That book is called the King James Version of the Bible; the Word of God or any revised editions of this particular book. They are like schools–they help educate the people concerning the rights and wrongs of the WAYS of life according to this One book. They are all teaching about the Same God but they all teach the Word differently.

    The End result is that they ALL believe in the Same God and they All believe in his son Jesus Christ. They All believe that there is a heaven and a future state of Rewards and Punishments. This is RELIGION. Believing in God Almighty and His son Jesus Christ.

    Washington might have walked out of communion for ten years because he didn’t believe everything that his Teachers taught. Every religion teaches differently. He might have denied the Blood Attonement according to his Churches doctrine by walking out of a building or an establishment of religion, or by not recognizing their rituals but he was a man who believed in God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son according to all of his writtings. He was a man of God– not a man of religion. He was a Bible believing man– not a church believing man. Our government was built on standards and principles of the Bible– not the standards and principles of some man made Church.

    When are we going to open our eyes and see that our government formed Equal Rights for everyone who lives according to the Word of God–not according to the Word of a Church ? Our country gives honor to the God of the King James Version of the Bible. That is who we love, honor, and obey. And we all learn about him either from the Book itself or we learn about him from the Said Translations of all the different “RELIGIOUS Organizations” cause we can’t understand the book without help.

    Washington and Jefferson understood the book for themselves. They didn’t need someone to translate the meaning to the words that they read–neither do I. You see, I am also a child of God. His book teaches me.

  3. oft (http://www NULL.ourfoundingtruth NULL.blogspot says:

    If Jesus’ Blood Atonement is rejected, it wouldn’t matter how many times Washington called himself a Christian, his sins aren’t forgiven. The Bible is clear, “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.”

    If anyone doesn’t adhere to the fundamentals of Christianity, they cannot be Christians. I would seriously examine whether you are in the faith.

  4. Linda Templet says:

    Sir, Judge not, lest ye be judged. Did I debate whether or not you were a Christian? Who are you to examine whether or not I am a Christian?

    Examine this–Are you publicly standing up for God? Are you fighting to get Bibles put back into our schools–fighting to get the filth and garbage off of our television sets–radio stations–movies etc.–fighting to stop abortion–fighting to stop homosexuality from taking over our childrens minds? Are you fighting to find out the REAL intrepretation to the 1st Amendment–”Congress shall make NO LAW RESPECTING an establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof?

    Our country was built on Christian Morals–principles standards and values. Our actions judge what we are. If you are not IN THE FIGHT how on earth can you examine my faith?

    Spend time examining yourself. You are wasting alot of your precious time examining me and Washington. I don’t need a physician to examine whether or not I am “in the faith”–I know the Great Physician personally but thanks for the offer.

  5. EPM says:

    In the OT there was shedding of blood that represented what was to come in the NT, the ultimate shedding of blood that forgave the sins of the world. But if we don’t BELIEVE that and call on the Name of the Lord, we won’t be saved from the eternal separation from our loving God. Confess by FAITH with your spoken words what you don’t see with your eyes that Jesus is Lord! BEING SAVED according to God’s Word is ultimately more important than my ability to simply call myself a Christian or someone else’s opinion of me being a Christian based on my actions. Adhering to and living the fundamentals takes time walking teachably with God, studying his Word and listening His Holy Spirit living within the believer.

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