Yehuda Lave
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By the President of the United States of America: A Proclamation

Proclamation of a Day of Fasting

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas a joint Committee of both Houses of Congress has waited on the President of the United States, and requested him to “recommend a day of public humiliation, prayer and fasting, to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnities, and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessings on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace:” —

And whereas it is fit and becoming in all people, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God; to bow in humble submission to his chastisements; to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and to pray, with all fervency and contrition, for the pardon of their past offences, and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action:

And whereas, when our own beloved Country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him, and to pray for His mercy, — to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the re-establishment of law, order and peace, throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing, by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence: —

Therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next, as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all the people of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the People, and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion of all denominations, and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day according to their several creeds and modes of worship, in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our Country.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed, this 12th, day of August A.D. 1861, and of the Independence of the United States of America the 86th.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

President Lincoln’s Proclamations of Fasting and Prayer

One crucial action President Lincoln took that affected our nation’s future. The significance of this action cannot be measured. But in our modern time (with its revisionist history), very few Americans even know about it.

What is this one thing? President Lincoln led the nation to turn to G-d through fasting and prayer.

Yes, that’s right. This historic president whom G-d used to make such a difference in our nation led its inhabitants to seek G-d through fasting and prayer … three different times.

The nation that was celebrated in such a spectacular way might very well not exist in the form it does today, were it not for President Lincoln’s proclamations appointing days of prayer and fasting.

President Lincoln Knew …

Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president. He led the Union to victory in the Civil War, which ended slavery in America. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation which began the process of freedom for America’s slaves and he ensured congressional passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the abolition of slavery.

If you’re a US citizen, you know these facts well. But they’re worth considering afresh in the light of what may be a new context.

This man whom G-d used so greatly in our nation’s history, and Congress, who drafted the proclamations, knew Who the Source of true power and the agent of real change was. He knew that only G-d could unite and heal the nation.

He knew that nothing could be accomplished apart from prayer, and that fasting deepens and strengthens prayer.

President Lincoln’s Proclamation’s for Prayer and Fasting

First Proclamation

During the Civil War, President Lincoln called the nation to fast and pray for national peace and unity. His first proclamation was to set apart the last Thursday in September 1861.   (Amazingly usually around Yom Kipper –what do you know ?)

A portion read:

Whereas it is fit and becoming in all people at all times to acknowledge and revere the supreme government of God, to bow in humble submission to His chastisements, to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and to pray with all fervency and contrition for the pardon of their past offenses and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action; and

Whereas when our own beloved country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous, and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals to humble ourselves before Him and to pray for His mercy—to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the reestablishment of law, order, and peace throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence:

Therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next as a day of humiliation, prayer, and fasting for all the people of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the people, and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion of all denominations and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day according to their several creeds and modes of worship in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our country.

Second Proclamation

Lincoln’s second proclamation, first issued by the Senate, on the 30th of March, 1863 stated that we needed to repent as a nation through prayer and fasting:

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.

Third Proclamation

Lincoln’s third proclamation was the first Thursday of August, 1864. He made a special plea for those in positions of authority to seek G-d with fasting and prayer.

That the President of the United States be requested to appoint a day for humiliation and prayer by the people of the United States; that he request his constitutional advisers at the head of the Executive Departments to unite with him as Chief Magistrate of the nation, at the city of Washington, and the members of Congress, and all magistrates, all civil, military, and naval officers, all soldiers, sailors, and marines, with all loyal and law-abiding people, to convene at their usual places of worship, or wherever they may be, to confess and to repent of their manifold sins; to implore the compassion and forgiveness of the Almightyto implore Him, as the Supreme Ruler of the World, not to destroy us as a people, nor suffer us to be destroyed by the hostility or connivance of other nations or by obstinate adhesion to our own counsels, which may be in conflict with His eternal purposes, and to implore Him to enlighten the mind of the nation to know and do His will, humbly believing that it is in accordance with His will that our place should be maintained as a united people among the family of nations;

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, cordially concurring with the Congress of the United States in the penitential and pious sentiments expressed in the aforesaid resolution and heartily approving of the devotional design and purpose thereof, do hereby appoint the first Thursday of August next to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of national humiliation and prayer.

I do hereby further invite and request the heads of the Executive Departments of this Government, together with all legislators, all judges and magistrates, and all other persons exercising authority in the land, whether civil, military, or naval, and all soldiers, seamen, and marines in the national service, and all the other loyal and law-abiding people of the United States, to assemble in their preferred places of public worship on that day, and there and then to render to the almighty and merciful Ruler of the Universe such homages and such confessions….

For Repentance

Did you notice the wording in the second proclamation? President Lincoln (and the men of the senate, like so many of our founding fathers and early statesmen) knew that the blessings of the nation had been given to its citizens by G-d.

Knowing this, he recognized when the nation had “forgotten God” and “vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”

Therefore, he proclaimed a fast so that the nation could return to G-d, confess its national sins, and ask G-d for forgiveness.

Each proclamation called for the nation to repent, confess its sins, and pray for forgiveness.

The United States Today

Today in the United States, many have forgotten G-d. We’ve vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all the blessings we enjoy were somehow produced by our own abilities and gifts. Intoxicated with success and self-sufficiency, we feel we don’t need G-d’s redeeming and keeping grace. We’re too arrogant to pray to the G-d that made us, let alone confess and repent of our “manifold,” “national” sins.

The http://gty.im/176660927 http://gty.im/176655283 One True G-d has not changed. His good has not become evil. Neither has His light become darkness nor his sweet become bitter.

The G-d who by His favor established this nation and allowed its charter to agree with the purposes and principles of government ordained by Him in Scripture—His instruction remains the same:

Today, we’re in desperate need of for-such-a-time-as-this leaders across the nation.

May the examples of the godly, courageous leadership of President Lincoln and the Congress spur us to pray that the same knowledge, and wisdom, and courage, and Spirit be upon our current president, vice-president, and all government leaders from the local to national level.

May united prayer from the nation once again “ascend to the Throne of Grace, and bring down plentiful blessings upon our country.”

May we recognize, as our founding fathers and early statesmen did, that it is G-d who gave us life and liberty.

May we understand that we are one nation under God, created and kept by Him and Him alone. And in a fresh awareness of this, may we turn to the One and Only who can forgive, heal, bless, and prosper the nation and her people. May we turn to Him, confess our manifold, national sins and ask Him to heal our land.

Battle Hymn of the Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on

About the Author
Yehuda Lave writes a daily (except on Shabbat and Hags) motivational Torah blog at YehudaLave.com Loving-kindness my specialty. Internationally Known Speaker and Lecturer and Author. Self Help through Bible and Psychology. Classes in controlling anger and finding Joy. Now living and working in Israel. Remember, it only takes a moment to change your life. Learn to have all the joy in your life that you deserve!!! There are great masters here to interpret Spirituality. Studied Kabbalah and being a good human being with Rabbi Plizken and Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, my Rabbi. Torah is the name of the game in Israel, with 3,500 years of mystics and scholars interpreting G-D's word. Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
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