Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 104 Part 6.djvu/837

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PROCLAMATION 6104—MAR. 6, 1990 104 STAT. 5227 eminent that would carry the United States into an uncharted future, as they fled oppressed and war-torn nations to build new lives in this land of opportunity, as they shielded the spark of hope from the cold winds of tyranny and world war, time and again they came, thankful and contrite, to the inextinguishable light of the Father's house. So great was the faith of our Founding Fathers, and so firm was their belief in the need for God's blessing upon their bold experiment in self- government, that they frequently turned to Him in prayer both as individuals and as a community. Indeed, the first act of the Continental Congress, the same body that declared America's independence, was a prayer. Thomas Jefferson and other Founders believed that the God Who gives us life gives us liberty as well, and if the American people are to keep a truly free and democratic government, they must acknowledge their dependence on His mercy and guidance. Thus, when they pledged to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in support of the Declaration of Independence, they did so "with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence." When the Framers of our Constitution heeded Ben Franklin's call for daily prayer at the Federal Convention in 1787, it is as if they were profoundly aware of the gentle admonition found in the 127th Psalm: "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." 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. The childhood of our liberty was guarded by the love of God, and the "new birth of freedom" of which President Lincoln spoke was possible only because that love was faithful to a people bitterly divided by civil war. Today, our liberty is older and our Republic has entered its third century, but we are still, as a people, in the infancy of our joiu"ney. So much greater is our need now to turn to God in prayer once again, seeking His blessing for the way that lies ahead. On this National Day of Prayer, observed more than 200 years after the Continental Congress asked for God's blessing upon om" young country, our prayers could have no better object than the safety and well-being of our children. It is for them that we labor and sacrifice, and it is for them that we struggle to uphold the noble ideals affirmed at our Nation's birth. Today, amidst our many blessings, we see the destruction of too many lives in their earliest flower—too many young minds lost to drugs, delinquency, and despair. The suffering or loss of even one of these children is more than any parent can bear, and it is more than our Nation can afford to tolerate. I therefore ask my fellow Americans to join with me in prayer for our children. Let us strive to help each of them sink their roots into the rich soil of God's love for the beings He has made in His own image. Let us show them through prayer that we, too, like our Nation's Founders, seek our shelter—our rock and our salvation—in the arms of God. Finally, let us dedicate this Nation once more to the protection of Divine Providence, remembering the words of the Psalmist: "How excellent is thy loving kindness O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings."