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George Washington Orders his Troops to Observe the Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer for the ‘Giver of Victory to Prosper Our Arms’

The rag-tag and green Continental Army would need heaven’s help. In April 1776, they arrived in New York, a city with a large population of Loyalists and surrounded by water that was conducive to a British naval attack. By June the British fleet arrived in the harbor with some four hundred ships. It was at this time, the largest force ever sent forth by one nation to another. One of Washington’s men wrote, “I declare that I thought all London was afloat.”

The Americans numbered well under half of the British troops, but they did have a promise of the Lord on which they could rely. George Washington wrote to John Adams saying, “We have nothing, my Dear Sir, to depend upon, but the protection of a kind Providence.”

Washington sent his troops to Long Island to engage the Red Coats where they had landed and the Americans were devastatingly defeated, losing between 700 and a thousand men. The British lost fewer than one hundred.

It was at a time of great devastation when Washington again called on his army to implore the God of heaven. On Friday, May 17th, Washington sent general orders to his army:

The Continental Congress having ordered Friday the 17th … to be observed as a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, humbly to supplicate the mercy of Almighty God, that it would please Him to pardon all our manifold sins and transgressions, and to prosper the arms of the United Colonies, and finally establish the peace and freedom of America upon a solid and lasting foundation; The General commands all officers and soldiers to pay strict obedience to the orders of the Continental Congress; that, by their unfeigned and pious observance of their religious duties, they may incline the Lord and Giver of victory to prosper our arms.”

Source

george-washingtons-sacred-fireWhat sets “George Washington’s Sacred Fire” apart from all previous works on this man for the ages, is the exhaustive fifteen years of Dr. Peter Lillback’s research, revealing a unique icon driven by the highest of ideals. Only do George Washington’s own writings, journals, letters, manuscripts, and those of his closest family and confidants reveal the truth of this awe-inspiring role model for all generations. Dr. Lillback paints a picture of a man, who, faced with unprecedented challenges and circumstances, ultimately drew upon his persistent qualities of character – honesty, justice, equity, perseverance, piety, forgiveness, humility, and servant leadership, to become one of the most revered figures in world history. George Washington set the cornerstone for what would become one of the most prosperous, free nations in the history of civilization. Through this book, Dr. Lillback, assisted by Jerry Newcombe, will reveal to the reader a newly inspirational image of General and President George Washington.

the-george-washington-devotionalThe George Washington Devotional combines a birth-to-death biography of George Washington with a Christian children’s devotional. The result is a collection of thirty-four lessons which reinforce basic Christian ideals via the true-life stories of one of our nation’s most important historical figures. With simple, short readings and introspective follow-up questions, this book will promote spiritual growth while providing in-depth exposure to the life of America’s first president. The George Washington Devotional is appropriate either as a stand-alone personal devotional for children or as a supplement to history/Bible for home-schooling families. Best used with children at a second grade reading level.

It must have been a highly unusual sight to see an army fasting, praying regularly and repenting of their sins—but that was Washington’s vision and that’s what they did.

As the British continued to close in on Washington’s army at Long Island—the land troops threatening from the east and the British navy pushing up the river, it became clear that the only way Washington could save his army was for them to cross the river by night, landing safely back in Manhattan.

This would seem impossible with the British swarming on both land and water, but on the third day after his decision, Washington turned to General Israel Putnam and declared, “God is propitious tonight.” Indeed He was. A miracle happened.

A ferocious wind from the north pushed the British back from advancing up the river and intercepting the fleeing Americans. Still, the night ended and the dawn was coming with a substantial number of American troops needing to make it off of Long Island and across that river.

David McCullough writes, “Troops in substantial number had still to be evacuated and at the rate things were going, it appeared day would dawn before everyone was safely removed. But again the ‘elements’ interceded, this time in the form of pea-soup fog. It was called ‘a peculiar providential occurrence,’ ‘manifestly providential,’ ‘very favorable to the design,’ ‘an unsual fog,’ ‘a friendly fog,’ ‘an American fog.’ ‘So very dense was the atmosphere,’ remembers Benjamin Tallmadge, ‘that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards’ distance.’ And as daylight came, the fog held, covering the entire operation no less than had the night…while over on the New York side of the river there was no fog at all.”

McCullough sums it up, “But what a close call it had been. How readily it could have gone all wrong—had there been no northeast wind to hold the British fleet in check through the day the Battle of Long Island was fought, not to say the days immediately afterward, Or had the wind not turned southwest the night of August 29. Of had there been no fortuitous fog as a final safeguard when day broke…Incredibly, yet again—fate, luck, Providence, the hand of God, as would be said so often—intervened.”

Though the fog saved the Revolutionary Army in New York, they had lost this battle. Washington was devastated and humiliated. Washington wrote, “If I were to wish the bitterest curse to an enemy on this side of the grave, I should put him in my stead with my feelings…In confidence I tell you that I never was in such an unhappy, divided state since I was born.”

(Source of above story. Written for LDS audience) We know that George Washington was a moral man and an inspiring leader, but did he possibly know more than we suppose? Was he a national covenant maker like Moses, Abraham, Lehi, or Captain Moroni? Did he understand that he was fighting for the liberty of a promised land protected by God, a place where the Lord’s holy temples could be built?

The Washington Hypothesis explores the intriguing evidence that Washington and the other Founding Fathers knew the Lord had a greater purpose for America. It takes us on a fascinating historical journey through the miracles of the Revolutionary War to the foundational documents of this great nation to the symbolism evident in every corner of the nation’s capital. Exploring how Washington’s beliefs framed his every action, author Timothy Ballard draws compelling conclusions about the divinity of that great leader’s calling. As we see the evidence of the Lord’s hand in Washington’s life, we may discover a much grander design at work in the founding of our nation.

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