Washington’s Prayers

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries4 Minutes

Some years ago, the personal prayer journal of America’s first president was printed, and we get a glimpse of the man who was one of our nation’s greatest leaders.

In his book George Washington the Christian, William J. Johnson shares his thoughts:

This gem is all in the handwriting of George Washington, when about twenty years old, and is, without exception, the most hallowed of all his writings. It is neatly written on twenty-four pages of a little book about the size of the ordinary pocket memorandum.

Professor S.F. Upham, professor of practical theology at Drew Theological Seminary, wrote:

The “Daily Prayers” of George Washington … reveal to us the real life of the great patriot and attest his piety. None can read those petitions, which bore his desires to God and often brought answers of peace, without having a grander conception of Washington’s character. The prayers are characterized by a deep consciousness of sin and by a need of forgiveness, and by a recognition of dependence upon the merits and mercies of our Lord.

President Washington’s journal included daily prayers. The following are the words he offered up every Sunday evening:

Most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving Father,

I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly, that my prayers are become my sin and stand in need of pardon. I have heard Thy Holy Word, but – with such deadness of spirit that I have been an unprofitable and forgetful hearer, so that, Lord, though I have done Thy work, yet it hath been so negligently that I may rather expect a curse than a blessing from Thee.

But, O God, who art rich in mercy and plenteous in redemption, mark not, I beseech Thee, what I have done amiss. Remember that I am but dust, and remit my transgressions, negligences, and ignorances, and cover them all with the absolute obedience of Thy Dear Son, that those sacrifices which I have offered may be accepted by Thee, in and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered upon the cross for me. For His sake, ease me of the burden of my sins, and give me grace that by the call of the Gospel, I may rise from the slumber of sin into the newness of life.

Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast this day prescribed in Thy Holy Word. Make me to know what is acceptable in Thy sight, and therein to delight. Open the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith and repentance, increase my faith, and direct me to the true object Jesus Christ: the Way, the Truth and the Life. Bless, Lord, all the people of this land, from the highest to the lowest, particularly those whom Thou hast appointed to rule over us in church and state. Continue Thy goodness to me this night. These weak petitions I humbly implore Thee to hear, accept, and answer for the sake of Thy Dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.