- - Sunday, November 29, 2015

America is in trouble. Polling data from Rasmussen Reports shows that only one in four Americans thinks we are heading in the right direction. Sixty-nine percent of voters believe the nation is headed down the wrong track. Something is wrong, but few can identify how to get America back on the right path.

Perhaps we are looking for solutions in the wrong places. In tough times, we tend to look outward, “It’s their fault.” Or we turn inward, “That problem is not my problem.” What we need to do, is look upward. We’ve been in rough places before as a nation, and, if we allow history to be our teacher, those who went before us knew where to turn in times of trouble.

We won our independence from a suffocating monarchy, but we had to learn how to govern ourselves. We drafted our Declaration, acknowledging our inalienable rights from our Creator followed by the initial Articles of Confederation, which proved too frail, so a Constitution was drafted in 1787 and ratified by the states the following year.

In 1789, Congress convened and approved the amendments to the Constitution, including the First Amendment which guaranteed religious liberty. One of the first orders of business was to pass a measure providing a salary for the chaplain of the Congress, who would conduct opening prayers.

When George Washington resigned his commission as commander in chief of the Revolutionary Army, he circulated his farewell address to the governors of the 13 states. He ended it with his “earnest prayer” that they remember: “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:8).

In another farewell address, Washington, the president, returned to the same theme by proclaiming that there was no chance of any successful national morality and no hope for any real civic virtue apart from a worshipful attitude toward God. He established the first federal day of prayer, noting: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

John Adams followed Washington as America’s next president. On March 23, 1798, Adams issued a proclamation for a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer. It read, in part:

“That the citizens of these states, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupations, offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies, agreeably to those forms or methods which they have severally adopted as the most suitable and becoming: That all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before GOD (emphasis mine) the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation; beseeching Him, at the same time, of His infinite Grace, through the Redeemer of the world, freely to remit all our offenses, and to incline us, by His holy spirit, to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for His inestimable favor and heavenly benediction.”

In addition to Washington and Adams, almost every president has issued proclamations calling upon citizens to set aside a day of prayer and thanksgiving to God for the blessings of freedom. Yet, there is an undeniable hostility against the role and acknowledgment of faith from some of our national institutions. In the past 50 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has:

• Outlawed prayer in public schools.

• Outlawed Bible reading in public schools.

• Banned the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools.

• Banned a silent moment of prayer in public schools.

• Banned the use of religious clergy to teach even optional religious instruction in public schools.

• Banned a Christmas nativity scene in a public building.

• Banned school-sponsored prayer at graduation ceremonies.

While American independence was born on July 4, 1776, that tree of liberty was birthed because of the seeds planted by men like Patrick Henry. What Mr. Henry said in Richmond in 1775 speaks to the soul of America now:

“They tell us sir that we are weak — unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs? We fight not our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations.”

We face foreign enemies today no less formidable than those engaged by our forefathers. But they knew what many of us have forgotten. God has the power to grant us not only victory against our foes, but also bring peace to the turmoil in our own hearts. The question before us now is whether or not we will call on His name and seek His guidance, petitioning for His wisdom in the days ahead. How we answer that question will determine whether we become a nation of hope or a people of hopelessness.

Billy Graham was right when he said, “To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.”

Janet Parshall is the executive producer and host of “In The Market with Janet Parshall,” nationally syndicated on over 700 stations across the country. Ms. Parshall is the author of several books, including her latest, “Buyer Beware.”

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