Abiel Leonard, a chaplain from Connecticut, was one of General George Washington’s closest military friends. Leonard composed a prayer for Washington’s Army published in Cambridge in 1775.
General Washington was a devout Christian and had this particular prayer bound in his personal collection. In Washington’s many writings, it was plainly evident he believed victory for America in freedom and liberty would only come as delivered from the hand of Almighty God. Many times he wrote of the "Divine Providence" and "the Invisible Hand" that delivered this nation’s founding in freedom.
Excerpt from “A prayer, composed for the benefit of the soldiery, in the American Army, to assist them in their private devotions; and recommended to their particular use” by Abiel Leonard, A.M., Chaplain to General Putnam’s Regiment.
O my God, in obedience to the call of thy providence, I have engaged myself, and plighted my faith, to jeopardy my life in the high places of the field in the defense of my dear country and the liberties of it acknowledging thy people to be my people, their interest my interest, and their God to be my God. … And I desire now to make solemn dedication of myself to thee in it through Jesus Christ presenting myself to thy Divine Majesty to be disposed of by thee to thy glory and the good of America. O do thou, I most fervently entreat, wash away mine iniquities, blot them out of thy remembrance, purify and cleanse my soul in the blood of the great Captain of my salvation—accept of—own and bless me!
Teach, I pray thee, my hands to war, and my fingers to fight in the defense of America, and the rights and liberties of it! Impress upon my mind a true sense of my duty, and the obligation I am under to my country! … but may I live to do further service to my country—to the church and the people of God, and interest of Jesus Christ, and see peace and tranquility restored to this land…
Hear me, O my God, and accept of those my petitions through Jesus Christ, to whom with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God, be glory, honor and praise, forever and ever. AMEN.
You can find a great deal more on Washington’s Christian faith and his belief in Divine Providence in the marvelous book, George Washington’s Sacred Fire.
Happy Birthday, America!
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