Benjamin Franklin was eighty-one years old when he came to the Constitutional Convention.
At first, the delegates couldn’t agree on anything. Then, they adopted Franklin’s resolution to begin each session with prayer. With God’s help, they drafted the United States Constitution. They created a new form of government that had never existed before. A government whose power is derived from the consent of the governed. A government of the people, by the people and for the people.
This is a portion of Benjamin Franklin’s request for prayer:
“How has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. . . . And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance.
I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth–that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; . . . “
Benjamin Franklin knew from his own experience that, if it hadn’t been for God, the United States of America would not exist. And the practice of beginning daily sessions of Congress with prayer continues to this day.