America, a nation conceived in liberty and justice, was built on the foundation of Judeo-Christian principles that, to this day, serve as guiding lights in our nation’s hope for tomorrow. Our founding fathers were men of deep and abiding faith who understood God’s providential course in forging a nascent nation out of dangling and disjointed colonies.
In their growing dissatisfaction over England’s tightfisted control and unyielding monopoly over their lives in local governmental affairs, coupled with an unquenchable thirst for independence, a band of God-fearing men coalesced clandestinely under the cover of darkness, while clinging to their faith, not knowing their fate or where it would ultimately lead them. Only God knew and only in God did they trust.
A determined people had reached the inevitable conclusion that “enough was enough!” If things were to change, they had no other choice but to take matters into their own hands by becoming “the masters of their fate and the captains of their souls.”
What possibly could have been the driving force that fanned into a flame, their burning passion to take destiny into their own hands by way of a concerted effort to make one out of many? The founding fathers could not have done it based solely on their own strength or inner resolve. There had to have been some other power above and beyond them, yet also within them, that was a determining factor in propelling them toward their quest for independence.
It was the power of prayer that led, drove and motivated men of faith, in the crucible of their struggle, to give birth to the incarnation of God’s Providence for this nation. Otherwise, how could they have withstood the vicious onslaught of a mighty British Army that was dead set on silencing and annihilating anything and anyone that stood in the way of usurping and overthrowing the crown’s sovereign rule? You cannot destroy a mighty world power with guns and bayonets alone.
There is an adage that says: “prayer changes things.” Let’s take it one step further: “Prayer not only changes things but changes people so that people can change things!” Prayer forged America, prayer has sustained America through turbulent and tumultuous times and prayer must remain an integral and indispensable part of America’s future if she is to continue to lead the world in this providential age.
Prayer reveals and unlocks the secrets of God’s Providence in our modern world. What is this providential age? It is an era when the Will of God reigns in the hearts of all humankind. It is a time that ushers in an epoch free of tyranny, threat and thievery. It is a period when a world is no longer held hostage or lives under the fear of ISIS, DASH or other terrorist regimes. It is an age when we come to understand and appreciate what it means to live as brothers and sisters, one family under God, rather than perish together as fools.
None of these noble aspirations can be achieved without the power of prayer in our daily and corporate lives. Prayer transcends religion, race and ethnicity, socio-economic and geo-political backgrounds. It is a universal language that bespeaks our relationship and attitude toward God and a divine, spiritual conversation that we have with our Creator that links us not only to our maker but to one another.
America’s future rests in embracing the power of prayer. Prayer can break down the resistance within all of us to stop limiting the role that each one of us plays in securing the well-being and healing of our nation and world. If the power of prayer served as an instrument in the creation of so great a nation, then what can prayer facilitate in ensuring that a people assume its rightful position in securing America’s future?
If not now, then when? If not you, then who? Yes, you and I can change the course of a nation and the world through the power of prayer. Let us continue that universal conversation with our Creator as we strive toward unity with one another.
Prayer can change people who, then, can change the world.
Archbishop George Augustus Stallings, Jr. is the founder and patriarch of Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation, in Suitland, Maryland. He also serves as the national co-chairman of the American Clergy Leadership Conference, headquartered in New York City.
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