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Washington and Jefferson: America needs God

Statue of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, at Washington and Jefferson College, outside the Swanson Wellness Center, northeast corner of 136 and S Lincoln Street, Washington, Pennsylvania, May 27, 2007 (Credit: OZinOH via Flickr) My wife and I spent last week in Virginia, where we toured the homes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  The faith of these two giants of American history in many ways speaks to the significance of faith in America today.

George Washington spoke of God in his speeches and writings 147 times, the divine 95 times, heaven 133 times, Providence over 270 times, used other titles for God some 95 times, and alluded to over 200 biblical texts.  He believed strongly in divine providence: When deciding whether to accept a second term as president, Washington told his dear friend Edmund Randolph, "As the allwise disposer of events has hitherto watched over my steps, I trust that in the important one I may soon be called upon to take, he will mark the course so plainly . . . that [I] cannot mistake the way."

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The hand that rules the world

A pretty mom and her beautiful daughter enjoy time together in Port Washington, Wisconsin, April 8, 2009 (Credit: Elvis Kennedy via Flickr)A little girl was looking at the wedding pictures of her parents and asked her father, "Daddy, is that the day you got Mom to come and work for us?"  A teacher gave her second-grade class a lesson on magnets, then asked a boy, "Now, my name starts with an 'M' and I pick up things.  What am I?"  The boy replied instantly, "A mother?"

Mothers need all the encouragement they can find.  That's what Anna Jarvis thought when she decided upon her mother's death in 1905 to make a day in her memory.  She copyrighted "Mother's Day" with the U.S. Patent Office, then wrote governors, state legislators, congressmen, even the president.  Finally, in 1914 President Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother's Day a national observance.

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Why is today the National Day of Prayer?

A young woman with her hands folded in prayer against a muted American flag background (Credit: Evan Burton using works from Chad Madden and Shaun Menary via Lightsock)In 1775, the Second Continental Congress issued a proclamation recommending a day of "humiliation, fasting, and prayer" to be observed by the Colonies.  John Adams reported that this special day was more widely observed than church attendance on Sunday.  Responding to this success, Congress determined to call for a day of prayer and fasting each spring, and a day of thanksgiving and praise each fall.

Each president after Thomas Jefferson (except for Andrew Jackson) proclaimed a national day of prayer on special occasions or annually during the spring.  In 1952, during the Korean War, Billy Graham stated, "What a thrilling, glorious thing it would be to see the leaders of our country today kneeling before Almighty God in prayer. What a thrill would sweep this country.  What renewed hope and courage would grip the Americans at this hour of peril."

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Why are Australians praying for America?

A plea to Pray for the USA atop a photo of Grand Central Station in New York City, part of National Day of Prayer and Fasting Australia initiative to pray for the United States, May 3, 2015 (Credit: National Day of Prayer and Fasting Australia via Instagram) General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, proclaimed a day of "fasting, humiliation and prayer" for May 6, 1779.  He then ordered a one-day cessation of recreation and "unnecessary labor" so that his soldiers could observe the day.

236 years later, his proclamation is being answered for America by Christians in Australia.

Lana Vawser, an Australian Christian, explains: "There is a fight for the destiny of the USA right now.  The destiny of America hangs in the balance.  The Lord is calling His people to arise and pray for the United States of America.  It is time to contend."

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My apology to teachers everywhere

Elementary school-aged boy sitting in his classroom, not paying attention to his teacher, with his head in his hand looking slightly distressed and confused (Credit: Tyler Olson via Fotolia)Today is National Teacher Day, part of Teacher Appreciation Week. (Tweet this) Few of you owe teachers more appreciation than I do.

Five of my six elementary school teachers stopped teaching after I was their student.  You can do the math.  I melted crayons into my first-grade teacher's hair, made a ball-point pen into a stink bomb in second grade, knocked chalk dust into the window air conditioner in fourth grade, and dismantled the playground chain-link fence in fifth grade.  There are more stories to tell, but space is short.  As you can see, my teachers deserve all the gratitude I can communicate today.

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