2 Chronicles 7:13 14 –If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7, at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., about 65 miles northeast of New York City. By now the news of this horrible tragedy has traveled around the world and has struck at the hearts of Americans everywhere. Parents in America have given extra hugs to their children as they have had to send them back to schools this week. President Barack Obama in an emotional speech paid tribute to the victims and encouraged the nation. The lives of the survivors of this tragedy will never be the same and hearts are broken for parents and families who will not be able to hug their children again. This event in a small town in Connecticut was truly a national tragedy.
This is not the first time that a massive killing has happened in the United States. It is not the first time that American’s have watched the news helplessly as reports of the death of children at the hand of a killer flashed across the screen. And just as the tragedies before, Americans have begun asking why and how is something like this prevented. Politicians like NYC Mayor Bloomberg and WV Senator Joe Manchin have called for greater gun control efforts even in the face of evidence that suggests that gun control was not the problem while twitter was abuzz with blame pointed at gun makers and the National Rifle Association. The attention and blame has also focused on mental health issues. FoxNews writer Jennifer Cerbasi wrote a report about how schools are not prepared for dealing with mental health issues. The blame will be passed from one source to another without really ever touching the source of the problem.
The source of society’s problems is that humans are evil. Humans every day do evil things. I recently wrote an article about the mistaken view of human nature that socialism has. Please visit that article for more information on human nature and evil. That will not be the primary focus of this article.
President Obama in his recent speech said that he would use all of the power of his office to work to prevent killings in the future. He said “We can’t tolerate this anymore. We are not doing enough and we will have to change.” This seems to be a message that Mr. Obama will seek to impose gun control and/or psychological programs on the American public. While the constitution gives the president no power to do these things, Mr. Obama has shown before that he is not averse to creating new executive powers.
So what should the government do in instances of national tragedy? Looking back through our history and especially the founding of the country, the response to national tragedies has not always been a rush to more legislation and less liberty. Instead the government has in the past taken a more solemn approach. We will now take a look at a few responses to tragedies.
In 1775 during a time of great upheaval and stress for the colonies that would later make up the union of the States, the Continental Congress met together. This was during a time when the King of England had all but declared war upon the colonies. The Boston Massacre had already occurred and the colonies were on the verge of declaring Independence. It is at this time that the Continental Congress took the following action.
In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity.
The Congress, therefore, considering the warlike preparations of the British Ministry to subvert our invaluable rights and priviledges, and to reduce us by fire and sword, by the savages of the wilderness, and our own domestics, to the most abject and ignominious bondage: Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprizes, on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies; and by inclining their hearts to justice and benevolence, prevent the further effusion of kindred blood.
But if, continuing deaf to the voice of reason and humanity, and inflexibly bent, on desolation and war, they constrain us to repel their hostile invasions by open resistance, that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success: Earnestly beseeching him to bless our civil rulers, and the representatives of the people, in their several assemblies and conventions; to preserve and strengthen their union, to inspire them with an ardent, disinterested love of their country; to give wisdom and stability to their counsels; and direct them to the most efficacious measures for establishing the rights of America on the most honourable and permanent basis – That he would be graciously pleased to bless all his people in these colonies with health and plenty, and grant that a spirit of incorruptible patriotism, and of pure undefiled religion, may universally prevail; and this continent be speedily restored to the blessings of peace and liberty, and enabled to transmit them inviolate to the latest posterity.
And it is recommended to Christians of all denominations, to assemble for public worship, and abstain from servile labour on the said day.
Resolved, That the foregoing resolve be published.
Congress called upon the nation to fast from work and food and to get together for a time of prayer and worship. Unless anyone thinks this was a political statement only we will look at another statement put forth by none other than Thomas Jefferson.
Tuesday, the 24th of May, 14 Geo. III. 1774. This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great
dangers, to be derived to british America, from the hostile Invasion of the City of Boston, in our Sister Colony of
Massachusetts bay, whose commerce and harbour are, on the first Day of June next, to be stopped by an Armed force,
deem it highly necessary that the said first day of June be set apart, by the Members of this House, as a day of
Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer, devoutly to implore the divine interposition, for averting the heavy Calamity
which threatens destruction to our Civil Rights, and the Evils of civil War; to give us one heart and one Mind
firmly to oppose, by all just and proper means, every injury to American Rights; and that the Minds of his Majesty
and his Parliament, may be inspired from above with Wisdom, Moderation, and Justice, to remove from the loyal People
of America all cause of danger, from a continued pursuit of Measures, pregnant with their ruin. Ordered, therefore,
that the Members of this House do attend in their Places, at the hour of Ten in the forenoon, on the said first day
of June next, in Order to proceed with the Speaker, and the Mace, to the Church in this City, for the purposes
aforesaid; and that the Reverend Mr. Price be appointed to read Prayers, and the Reverend Mr. Gwatkin, to preach a
Sermon, suitable to the Occasion.
As you can tell from the above proclamation. The members of the congress were ordered to attend a church and a reverend was appointed to read prayers and to preach.
In 1795, Governor Samuel Adams issued a proclamation for Massachusetts. This proclamation called for fasting and humiliation and prayers:
THE supreme Ruler of the Universe, having been pleased, in the course of his Providence, to establish the Independence of the United States of America, and to cause them to assume their rank, amount the nations of the Earth, and bless them with Liberty, Peace and Plenty; we ought to be led by Religious feelings of Gratitude; and to walk before Him, in all Humility, according to his most Holy Law.-But, as the depravity of our Hearts has, in so many instances drawn us aside from the path of duty, so that we have frequently offended our Divine and Merciful Benefactor; it is therefore highly incumbent on us, according to the ancient and laudable practice of our pious Ancestors, to open the year by a public and solemn Fast.-That with true repentance and contrition of Heart, we may unitedly implore the forgiveness of our Sins, through the merits of Jesus Christ, and humbly supplicate our Heavenly Father, to grant us the aids of his Grace, for the amendment of our Hearts and Lives, and vouchsafe his smiles upon our temporal concerns:
I HAVE therefore thought fit to appoint, and with the advice and consent of the Council, I do hereby appoint Thursday, the Second Day of April next, to be observed as a Day of Public Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer throughout this Commonwealth:-Calling upon the Ministers of the Gospel, of every Denomination, with their respective Congregations, to assemble on that Day, and devoutly implore the Divine forgiveness of our Sins, -To pray that the Light of the Gospel, and the rights of Conscience, may be continued to the people of United America; and that his Holy Word may be improved by them, so that the name of God may be exalted, and their own Liberty and Happiness secured.-That he would be graciously pleased to bless our Federal Government; that by a wise administration, it may be a sure guide and safe protection in national concerns, for the people who have established, and who support it-That He would continue to us the invaluable Blessings of Civil Liberty; guarding us against intestine commotions; and enabling the United States, in the exercise of such Governmental powers, as are devolved upon them, so that the honor and dignity of our Nation, upon the Sea and the Land, may be supported, and Peace with the other Powers of the World, upon safe and honorable terms, may be maintained.
That he would direct the administration of our Federal and State Governments, so that the lives, liberties and property of all the Citizens, and the just rights of the People, as Men and Citizens, may be forever acknowledged, and at all times defended, by Constitutions, founded upon equal rights; and by good and wholesome Laws, wisely and judiciously administered and duly executed.
That he would enable Legislators and Magistrates of this Commonwealth, to discharge the important duties incumbent on them, that the People may have good reason to feel themselves happy and safe, and lead quiet and peaceable lives in all Godliness and Honesty.
That he would incline the Natives of the Wilderness, to listen to reasonable offers of Peace, that tranquility and security may be established on the Frontiers Of our Country;-That he would graciously regard the Lives and Health of the People of this and our sister States, and preserve them from contagious and wasting diseases: To crown the ensuing Year with Plenty and Prosperity, by his blessing on our Husbandry, our Fisheries, our Commerce, and all the labor of our Hands-to affect our minds with a sense of our entire dependence upon Him, and of his great goodness towards us, that when we may present ourselves before Him, at the close of the Year, with our thank-offerings, our Hearts may by his grace, be prepared to do it in a manner acceptable to Him.
That He would be graciously pleased to establish the French Republic, and prosper others who are contending for the Rights of Men, and dispose all Nations to favor the same principles , and return to Peace and Friendship.
That He would in his great Mercy, remember the unhappy state of our Fellow-Citizens and others, who are groaning under bondage, in a foreign Land. That He would soften the Hearts of those who have led them captive, inclining that People to show them favor during their Captivity, and in His own due time open a door for their relief: -And finally, that He would over-rule all the confusions that are in the Earth, of the speedy establishment of the Redeemer’s Kingdom, which consisteth in Righteousness and Peace.
And I do recommend to the People of this Commonwealth, to abstain from all unnecessary Labor and Recreation on the said Day.
GIVEN at the Council-Chamber, in Boston, this Twenty-eighth Day of February, in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-five, and in the Nineteenth Year of the Independence of the United States of America.
Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of Connecticut in 1807 also issued a proclamation calling for his state to turn from their sins and turn to God:
WHEN we seriously consider the Being and Perfections of God, with our relation to and dependence on Him, as our Great Creator, Preserver and Benefactor;-and when we reflect on the Evil of our Ways, and the folly of our Conduct towards the Author of our Being and of all our Mercies,-we should be humbled in the Dust before our God, for our sinful Ingratitude and unworthiness:-We have reason to cry out with the humble Publican, “God be merciful to us Sinners.”
WITH these Impressions I have thought proper to appoint, and I do hereby appoint Friday the Twenty-Seventh Day of March next, to be observed as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer throughout this State. And I do hereby call upon the People of all denominations of Religion, devoutly and solemnly to keep said Day and appropriate it as a Day of special religious service, devoted to God in solemn Duties of penitential acknowledgment of their Sins, private and social, against the Divine Will and government: and while lamenting their Sins, and forming sincere and humble resolutions of new Obedience, may they be solicitous to keep the Day in such manner as may be acceptable to God, and prove of lasting benefit in their future Lives and Conduct. At the same time it will become us humbly to reflect upon and seriously to consider the Judgments of the Lord, which in various ways, at this time, seem peculiarly abroad in the Earth; and endeavor to search out the procuring causes of God’s singular Displeasure. “When the Lord ariseth to shake terribly the Earth,” may the People return to their God. “It may be we shall be hid in the Day of the Lord’s fierce anger.”
And while performing the Duties of Repentance for past Offences, and forming devout resolutions for future Lives of Obedience, let us offer to our Almighty and all-gracious God, through our Great Mediator, our sincere and solemn Prayers for his Divine Assistance and the Influences of His Holy Spirit; that God may freely pardon all our Sins and strengthen our resolutions of future Obedience; that He will give us an Interest in the Covenant of Mercy through our Divine Redeemer; and that in addition to these unspeakable Blessings of His Grace, our God will mercifully grant us all those temporal Favors which he may see convenient and best for us. -And let us particularly and devoutly supplicate the Divine Favor and Influence on our public and private Interests: that God will be pleased to bless and guide the President of the United States in all his important duties; that our God will mercifully preside over all our national and state Councils at this critical and eventful period: that our public Rulers may be enlightened in and led to a just discernment and ardent pursuit of the public Interest, as relates to our internal concerns and external relations: that God will mercifully preserve our country from internal Confusion and civil Discord, and from external insult and aggression. -Also let us humbly entreat, That our God will bless us in the fruitfulness of the coming season: give us a continuance of Health in our Cities and in our Dwellings: succeed the Labors of the Husbandman: prosper our Commerce, Navigation and Fisheries: enlarge our Manufactures, and give success to our various lawful arts and industrious enterprise: smile on all our means of Learning and Science: bless and succeed a preached Gospel, and animate all its Ministers with the true spirit of their undertaking, and encourage their Hearts by a happy experience of their successful Labors: pray God to give Peace to contending Nations: cause that the peaceful Kingdom of Righteousness may be advanced in the World; and that the Gospel of our Lord and Savior may be extended throughout all the habitations of men.
All Servile Labor and Recreations on said Day are by Law forbidden.
GIVEN under my Hand at Lebanon in said State, this Twentieth Day of February, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seven-and of the United State of America the Thirty-First
Coming back around to Mr. Wall of Separation of Church and State himself, Thomas Jefferson when Governor of Virginia issued the following proclamation:
BE it enacted by the General Assembly, that the power of appointing days of public fasting and humiliation, or
thanksgiving, throughout this commonwealth, may in the recess of the General Assembly, be exercised by the Governor,
or Chief Magistrate, with the advice of the Council; and such appointment shall be notified to the public, by a
proclamation, in which the occasion of the fasting or thanksgiving shall be particularly set forth. Every minister
of the gospel shall on each day so to be appointed, attend and perform divine service and preach a sermon, or
discourse, suited to the occasion, in his church, on pain of forfeiting fifty pounds for every failure, not having a
reasonable excuse. ( emphasized by me) Dreisbach, Daniel L. (2002-09-01). Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation between Church and State (Critical America (New York University Paperback)) (Kindle Locations 2742-2747). NYU Press academic. Kindle Edition.
Notice that every minister was required to be at their post or pay a fee. These proclamations were taken seriously and the country took them seriously. Those days were set aside to turn to God and seek his face for forgiveness and for blessing. The above are only a handful of such proclamations.
The practices of setting aside a day for seeking God’s face comes straight from the Bible. There are countless stories in the Old Testament that tell of when good kings sought God’s face and turned their nation to Him. In 2 Kings 23 we have the story of Josiah a young King who turned Israel back to God.
Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
When Kings and Leaders turn to God, God blessed their nation. As the scripture quoted at the beginning of this article says, God promised if his people would turn to him that He would be just and forgive them of their sins.
Our nation is a nation in distress. Since the 1940’s, Christianity has taken a smaller and smaller role in the process of our community. Our nation has seen the countless destruction of children at the hands of so-called doctors and their own mothers. We have witnessed in horror as terrorists have attacked our land and demonic possessed people have entered schools and theaters to kill. Our political leaders have usurped their constitutional bounds and our country is no better for it. Unemployment is high while on the day after Thanksgiving countless people punch and kick each other to get the latest crazed technology. Sexting and other immoral practices are on a rise among our children. After the latest killing of children in Connecticut there is much ringing of hands and political bickering as to what our country can do in response.
I suggest that instead of rushing to rash emotionally driven attempts to take away liberty that we instead take a page from the founders of this nation. I call upon President Barack Obama and congress to issue a Proclamation of Fasting Humility and Prayer. We as a nation should take a day off of work and school and what ever consumes our busy lives. We should take this day to fast from entertainment and trivial pursuits. I suggest that we get on our knees in humbleness before God and spend a day in trembling worship. We should repent of our sins and seek Him. We should thank God for his provision in the past and seek his blessing moving forward. We as a nation need to turn from our wickedness and turn to God’s goodness. Maybe then God will work to restore our liberties and our bountiful blessing.
Please join me in signing this petition to call upon our government to make this a reality. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/issue-proclamation-fasting-humiliation-and-prayer/7Jd2LsKt
Please join me in praying for our country. God bless the USA and USA bless God.