from each of the 13 states met in Philadelphia to iron out differences that threatened to
destroy the new nation. However, the battles between them intensified until
statements made by Benjamin Franklin brought a sobering air to the room.
"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 tan empire can
rise without His aid?
... I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance
of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning
before we proceed to business..."
Our Constitution was written shortly thereafter, by men who earnestly sought God. This
enduring print captures that event, The First Prayer in congress, with exquisite
detail. As an American, you too, will want to display this high-quality, limited
edition print in your home or office, and tell others the story behind it!
(Measures 20" x 26", sold unframed, printed on 80 lb. cover weight
Introducing . . .
The First Prayer in Congress.
A Constant Reminder That America
Was Born With a Prayer and Founded as a Nation "UNDER GOD".
September 1774. Carpenters Hall
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 35th Psalm fell on that day in the
regular Episcopal readings. It was such an appropriate Psalm that all must have felt
it was a message from God. This Psalm is still chosen today by those feeling
overwhelmed by tyrannical forces, and it still has a profoundly uplifting effect on any
audience that hears it.
"Lord our Heavenly Father, High and
Mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers
on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires
and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech thee, on these our American States, who
have fled to thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious
protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent on Thee, to Thee have they appealed for
the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and
support, which Thou alone canst give; take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy
nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious
designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and
if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their
hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of
battle! Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable
assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene
of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually
restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst Thy
people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them
and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for
them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. all this we
ask In the Name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.
The First Prayer offered in Congress
September 7th, 1774 by Jacob Duche in
Carpenters Hall, Philadelphia
Witnesses record that during the prayer
Washington knelt along with Henry, Randolph, Lee, Rutledge and Jay. The last two
were originally the most vocal in opposing the idea of a prayer. After the prayer a
profound silence followed, so deep was the sense of responsibility upon each man present.
Eventually a grave-looking man, coarsely dressed
arose and began to speak, to the annoyance of the secretary who thought he was a country
minister trying to show off. But an unusual force of argument and a singular
impassioned eloquence soon electrified the house. This was how the world first
learned of one of the greatest orators of all time: Patrick Henry. In the future he
would often speak for the heart of the American people. Here his role was simply to
state what had just been accomplished: British oppression has effaced
the boundaries of the several colonies. The distinctions between Virginians and
Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers and New Englanders are no more. I am not a Virginian but
an American. Who would have expected that a few men praying could so
profoundly change the course of history?
Reverend Duche was later appointed Chaplain of
Congress on July 6, 1776, two days after the Declaration of Independence. He
officiated every morning at 9:00 am until September 28th, when while leaving church he was
arrested by the British. While he served Congress he asked that his $150 salary be
used for the relief of widows and orphans of Pennsylvania officers.
The First Prayer in Congress
This is the only known early American painting of
the First Prayer in Congress. Every detail was fully researched by the
artist. It is so carefully delineated that it was used in more recent times to guide
the restoration of Carpenters Hall.
It is interesting to note the choices of the
artist in designing his work: The various prayer styles are reflective of the religion of
each participant. Behind the podium used by the Reverend Duche is another higher
podium, used by the President of the Assembly, but it is unoccupied. No one would
allow himself to sit in a station appearing higher than the representative of God.
In fact, the President of this Assembly, Peyton Randolph of Virginia, has
left his high station and takes the lowest position in the painting. He is in the
foreground on the left with his face covered by his own hands, appearing to bow more
deeply than the others. Next to him is Washington, the only one facing the same
direction as Reverend Duche, implying an accord with Gods vision. He stands
out with a darker suit than those around him, indicating his emerging leadership role.
One scrap of paper occupies center stage; perhaps
this is the message they just received that Boston was being shelled by the British.
The other papers and books look like they are all about to fall, perched on
the edge of their tables. Perhaps these represent mans worldly concerns and
they are suspended precariously in wait as the men turn their attention to the more
pressing need to be with God.
As it Relates to American History
Our Founding Fathers were God-fearing men.
Our more prominent patriotsWashington, Jefferson, Franklin,
Henryoften prayed in the course of their duties or commissions.
Textbooks never mention how General George
Washington knelt at Valley Forge and petitioned Almighty God to spare his men and get them
through that terrible winteryet historians have proof it happened! This may be
the first time you've heard of the First Prayer in Congress, until now, yet
we have the accounts of many eyewitnesses who testified it transpired that fall morning in
Prayer has played a vital role in the birth and
development of our Nation. The First Prayer in Congress was originally
painted to celebrate the occasion that marked a turning point in our countrys
struggle for Independence. Now, it remains as a symbol of integrity, faith and
freedom for current and future generations to enjoy.