It was 160 years ago, as the turbulence of the Civil War was destroying American cities, separating family units, breaking the economy, and positioning church against church, President Abraham Lincoln issued the second of three proclamations for our country per request of the United States Senate.
The proclamation was for a Day Of National Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer, scheduled for April 30, 1863.
President Lincoln’s proclamation:
Whereas the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has by a resolution requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation; and
Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord;
And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do by this my proclamation designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at their several places of public worship and their respective homes in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.https://www.shadesofgrace.org/2017/01/24/president-lincolns-proclamations-fasting-prayer/
God in His faithfulness, according to 2 Chronicles 7:14, told us what we should do if we stray from Him:
2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
The very next day, May 1, 1863, the day after Civil War Americans humbled themselves and prayed, began the beginning of the end of the war and the healing of America!
On May 1, 1863, after five attempts, the north’s Ulysses S. Grant won the Battle of Port Gibson which lead to the fall of Vicksburg.
Also on that day, the Battle of Chancellorsville, Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, General Lee’s right hand man, was shot. Jackson was considered a brilliant strategist and extremely important in the effort to win the war. He died eight days later. His loss was immense to the south.
Two historic battles that were turning points to end of the Civil War, both occurring on the same day, the day after the President’s call for a national day of prayer.
Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.
If the events of May 1, 1863 had ended differently, Gettysburg would no doubt have ended differently, and America as we know it would not exist. But that is not what happened. God happened. God intervened for mankind.
God was true to His word after man’s humble submission, “…I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
America, right now, is again experiencing turbulence. Why? Because as President Lincoln exactly stated:
“But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.“
Thankfully it is not too late for America to be saved from ourselves. God’s word is just as relevant and abiding today as it was when He spoke to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14 reminding Solomon if Israel obeys Him they will be blessed, and if Israel disobeys Him they will be punished. President Lincoln understood God’s directive. That’s why Lincoln asserted three proclamations. That’s why Lincoln wrote:
“It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
Humiliation, fasting, and prayer saved America in Lincoln’s time. It will save America in our time as well…if 2023 citizens participate just as 1863 citizens participated.
April 30, 2023 falls on a Sunday. May America’s Christians be humbled, fast, and pray together as a nation on the very same date chosen 160 yers ago in 1863. Share this post with friends, family, and also with churches, as we prepare to follow the proclamation written by President Abraham Lincoln.
“And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at their several places of public worship and their respective homes in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.“
May God forgive and heal our land.
Christians, pray collectively for America
Sunday, April 30, 2023.
ARE YOU A FOLLOWER OF JESUS?
Have you invited Jesus into your heart? Now is the perfect time. Pray this sinner’s prayer found at Gotquestions.com.
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen.”
Blessings to you as you receive redemption through Jesus.