Undoubtedly humbled by the heavy weight placed upon his shoulders, George Washington left Federal Hall where he had just taken the oath of office as the first President of the United States. He made his way to St. Paul’s Chapel. Upon entering the chapel, filled to capacity, he took a seat in a modestly sized pew box–a kindness afforded to him on account of his station. There he worshiped and prayed.
As he sat there that day, what did he pray for?
Did he offer a prayer of gratitude for the providential blessings which had been bestowed upon him and his family in recent years, especially the blessing that he was still healthy enough to serve? Did he thank God for the many miracles that had preserved him and his troops during the war, even the miracles of fog and snow and ice which seemed at first to hamper his progress but in reality hampered the movements of the enemy? Did he bless the heavens above for preparing the hearts of so many talented men, notwithstanding their differing backgrounds and opinions, to come to a consensus on what constituted good government?
Was he worried if he would be up to the task of leading an infant nation? Was he feeling even the slightest twinge of doubt in his own abilities to stand at the head of thirteen previously independent states? Was he apprehensive about the possibility that he could fail, knowing full well that power tends to corrupt, and that even he was vulnerable to temptation? Did he ask that God strengthen him in this, his greatest hour of need?
Perhaps he offered these prayers of thanks. Perhaps he pleaded once more for God’s mercy.
But was this all? Prayers of thanks? Prayers to be strengthened? I wonder . . . is it possible that he was blessed with vision that day?
Could he envision the good he would do as he served as the first constitutionally elected President of the United States? Could he see the struggles that the fledgling country would soon experience–struggles to survive additional wars, both outside our borders and also between the very states that had committed to create a more perfect union? Could he imagine years of peace and plenty, and years of trial, and years when the banner of America would be waved to the nations as the hope of the earth?
Did he see our day?
Did he see the ghost-like people, covered from head to toe in dust, that filtered into the Chapel when the Twin Towers fell? Did he see these dusty ghosts sit, in the very pew box where he now prayed? Did he see the flowers and pictures and hand-written notes and gifts and symbols of love . . . and the throngs and throngs of people that would quietly pass through the chapel to pay their respects to those who lost their lives that day?
Did he see the nation pull together in the months that followed–returning to a worship of God–only to seemingly abandon that religious feeling and the patriotism that went with it just a few short years later?
Did he experience anguish as he witnessed the attempts of wicked men to devalue, dismantle, and ultimately try to destroy the sacred document that had been the result of the sacrifices and the blood of so many of his dear countrymen?
Did he ask God that the evil designs of wicked men be frustrated? Did he petition God that patriots not falter? Did he beg God for the strength to set the example for us, so that we might know how to properly act and valiantly serve when our greatest trial would be thrust upon us–a trial which would come about mostly because of our own doing?
When George Washington Prayed That Day, Did He Pray For Us?