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Prayers for America

These prayers are from Peter Marshall (1902-1949), who was a poor Scottish immigrant who came to the U.S at the age of 24 and became a famous Presbyterian minister and twice chaplain of the U.S. Senate.

O God, we pray for a broader vision of the needs of humanity, and a deeper compassion to fill those needs; for a planting of the seeds of concern for all humanity in our hearts; for a tapping of the wells of generosity.

May we live together as people who have been forgiven a great debt.

May we be gentle, walking softly with one another.

May we be understanding, lest we shall add to the world’s sorrow or cause to flow needless tears.

May we be as anxious for the rights of others as we are for our own.

May we be as eager to forgive as we are to seek forgiveness.

May we know no barriers of creed or race or sex, that our love may be like Yours—a love that sees all people as Your children and our kin.

May we be ministers of humanity.

On May 22, 1947, during the Eightieth Congress…

God of our fathers, give unto us, thy servants, a true appreciation of our heritage, of great men and great deeds in the past, but let us not be intimidated by feelings of our own inadequacies for this troubled hour.

Remind us that the God they worshipped, and by whose help they laid the foundations of our Nation, is still able to help us uphold what they bequeathed and give it meaning

On July 3, 1947, Peter Marshall opened the Eightieth Congress with the prayer:

God of our Fathers, whose Almighty hand hath made and preserved our Nation, grant that our people may understand what it is they celebrate tomorrow.

May they remember how bitterly our freedom was won, the down payment that was made for it, the installments that have been made since this Republic was born, and the price that must be paid for our liberty.

May freedom be seen not as the right to do as we please but as the opportunity to please to do what is right.

May it be ever understood that our liberty is under God and can be found nowhere else.

May our faith be something that is not merely stamped upon our coins, but expressed in our lives.

Let us, as a nation, be not afraid of standing alone for the rights of men, since we were born that way, as the only nation on earth that came into being “for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

We know that we shall be true to the Pilgrim dream when we are true to the God they worshiped.

To the extent that America honors Thee, wilt Thou bless America, and keep her true as Thou hast kept her free, and make her good as Thou hast made her rich. Amen.

In the U.S. Congress, June 11, 1948, Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall opened with the prayer:

Help us, our Father, to show other nations an America to imitate … the America that loves fair play, honest dealing, straight talk, real freedom and faith in God.