December 5, 2018
George H.W. Bush — our nation’s 41st President — passed away on November 30, 2018. We want to remember him , and particularly his faith.
Significantly, when Bush ran for President in 1988, a key issue he championed in the campaign was the return of prayer in schools. And throughout his presidency, he delivered numerous speeches on the importance of prayer, frequently quoting the Bible on prayer and pointing to it as a critical factor in the building of America. I want to share some excerpts from some of his speeches on prayer.
“Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans have been a prayerful people . . . Calling for daily prayer at the Constitutional Convention, a number of delegates expressed their conviction that only with Divine guidance would the new democracy be true and successful . . . Immediately after his inauguration, President Washington made his way with the Congress through the crowds of well-wishers from Federal Hall to Saint Paul’s chapel. There a prayer service was offered by the Chaplain of Congress for our new Nation. The great faith that led our Nation’s Founding Fathers to pursue this bold experiment in self-government has sustained us in uncertain and perilous times; it has given us strength and inspiration to this very day. Like them, we do well to recall our ‘firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,’ to give thanks for the freedom and prosperity this Nation enjoys, and to pray for continued help and guidance from our wise and loving Creator”. (National Day of Prayer Proclamation — March 17, 1989)
“Today, we continue to offer thanks and praise to our Creator, that ‘Great Author of every public and private good,’ for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. In so doing, we recall the timeless words of the 100th Psalm: ‘Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God. It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endureth to all generations.'” (Thanksgiving Day 1989 Proclamation)
“Our hearts are filled with the same wonder, gratitude, and joy that led the psalmist of old to ask, ‘When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? And the Son of Man, that Thou visitest him?’ . . . Our words and deeds, when guided by the example of Christ’s life, can help others share in the joy of man’s Redemption . . . [L]et us recall what our Savior’s life means to the world.” (Observance of Christmas message — December 18. 1989)
“‘More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,’ wrote Lord Tennyson more than a century ago. Today, we are deeply mindful of the truth of his words. our Nation’s history and the lives of millions of men and women around the world provide compelling evidence of the power of faith and the efficacy of prayer. The Bible tells us what we have often seen for ourselves: that God answers the prayers of those who place their trust in Him . . . . Today, we do well to place in God’s hands our hopes and concerns for our families, and our communities, just as our Nation’s Founders entrusted their labors to Him.” (National Day of Prayer Proclamation — March 6, 1990)
“Christ came to assume the role of a shepherd, thus fulfilling the words of the prophet Isaiah: ‘He shall feed His flock like a shepherd. He shall gather the lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom.’ Christ’s brief time on Earth was devoted to tending the physical and spiritual needs of His flock: healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and illuminating the path to eternal salvation. His incarnation radically altered the course of human history by challenging men and women to live according to the will of our just and merciful Father in Heaven.” (Observance of Christmas message — December 18, 1990)
May God bless the memory of President George H.W. Bush.