1775 NATIONAL DAY OF HUMILIATION, FASTING, AND PRAYER
Our Founding Fathers were men of great faith, as shown in early American writings. One such document is the Proclamation of the National Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer of the Second Continental Congress of June 12, 1775, setting aside July 20, 1775 for such a day. This Proclamation was issued shortly after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, when the War of American Independence had just begun. This was the first National Day of Prayer, the second being May 17, 1776. Note the conciliatory language towards Britain as compared to the Second National Day. This document is published in the Journals of the Continental Congress, and signed by John Hancock, President of the Congress, and affirmed by Charles Thomson, Secretary. Our Christian heritage is clearly evident in this Proclamation.
As the great Governor of the World, by his supreme and universal Providence, not only conducts the course of nature with unerring wisdom and rectitude, but frequently influences the minds of men to serve the wise and gracious purposes of his providential government; and it being, at all times, our indispensible duty devoutly to acknowledge his superintending providence, especially in times of impending danger and public calamity, to reverence and adore his immutable justice as well as to implore his merciful interposition for our deliverance:
This Congress, therefore, considering the present critical, alarming and calamitous state of these colonies, do earnestly recommend that Thursday, the 20th day of July next, be observed, by the inhabitants of all the English colonies on this continent, as a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer; that we may, with united hearts and voices, unfeignedly confess and deplore our many sins; and offer up our joint supplications to the all-wise, omnipotent, and merciful Disposer of all events; humbly beseeching him to forgive our iniquities, to remove our present calamities, to avert those desolating judgments, with which we are threatened, and to bless our rightful sovereign, King George the third, and [to] inspire him with wisdom to discern and pursue the true interest of all his subjects, that a speedy end may be put to the civil discord between Great Britain and the American colonies, without farther effusion of blood: And that the British nation may be influenced to regard the things that belong to her peace, before they are hid from her eyes: That these colonies may be ever under the care and protection of a kind Providence, and be prospered in all their interests; That the divine blessing may descend and rest upon all our civil rulers, and upon the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions, that they may be directed to wise and effectual measures for preserving the union, and securing the just rights and priviledges of the colonies; That virtue and true religion may revive and flourish throughout our land; And that all America may soon behold a gracious interposition of Heaven, for the redress of her many grievances, the restoration of her invaded rights, a reconcilation with the parent state, on terms constitutional and honorable to both; And that her civil and religious privileges may be secured to the latest posterity.
And it is recommended to Christians, of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and to abstain from servile labour and recreations on said day.
June 12, 1775
Early American Writings
In God We Trust