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A National Day of Thanksgiving - and Prayer

I love the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a wonderful time of good food and fun with family and friends. As we get together to share a meal and enjoy the good company, most of us, if only for this one day, remember to give thanks to the One who provides these blessings. This year I'll remember that there is more to pray about than food and friends.

As I was reading about the holiday, I was struck by how our presidents through the years, have acknowledged the goodness of God in each Thanksgiving presidential address. Our early leaders seemed particularly concerned that prayer should be the center of the holiday and that God should be given the glory and the praise. They were concerned that this should be a national day of thanksgiving and prayer.

George Washington made this proclamation of the first official day of Thanksgiving in 1789.
He said that it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of God and;

"Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."


Abraham Lincoln's proclamation in 1863 also put God in the center of the holiday.
"I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."
President Lincoln made this proclamation in the midst of the Civil War. His prayer of more than 140 years ago, is one that we should remember for our nation today. He went on to ask for forgiveness for the nation's perverseness and disobedience and asked God's care of the widows, orphans, mourners and sufferers of the war. He asked for healing of the wounds of the nation.

These are only a small part of the two proclamations. You can find the full Thanksgiving address and all the presidential proclamations by searching the Internet with the search terms - presidential Thanksgiving proclamations.

So as we gather around the table - whether it is filled turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie or with hot dogs and beans, and whether it is surrounded by family and friends or it is a table for two - lets all thank God for his blessings, together. Remember too, as our presidents have, to pray for our country and for those who are suffering from war and discord at home or far away. And I will add this. I'll pray to our Heavenly Father that our future leaders will be those who humbly acknowledge His mercy and ask for His blessing on our nation.



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