Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Washington's Prayer

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One of the most well known images of the Revolutionary War is the painting of General George Washington kneeling in prayer at Valley Forge.

Many have tried to discredit and discard the image, declaring it never happened.

I think it did. And here's why.

Isaac Potts, a pacifist Quaker, said he saw Washington kneeling in prayer. And it changed his life.

Here's how the story goes:

The nearest to an authentication of the Potts story of Washington's prayer in the woods seems to be supplied by the "Diary and Remembrances" of the Rev. Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, an ordained Presbyterian minister, graduate of Princeton with a degree from Dickinson College. The original is owned by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Mr. Snowden was born in Philadelphia January 17, 1770, and died November 12, 1851. His writings cover a period from youth to 1846. In his records may be found these observations, in Mr. Snowden's own handwriting:
"I knew personally the celebrated Quaker Potts who saw Gen'l Washington alone in the woods at prayer. I got it from himself, myself. Weems mentioned it in his history of Washington, but I got it from the man myself, as follows:

"I was riding with him (Mr. Potts) in Montgomery County, Penn'a near to the Valley Forge, where the army lay during the war of ye Revolution. Mr. Potts was a Senator in our State & a Whig. I told him I was agreeably surprised to find him a friend to his country as the Quakers were mostly Tories. He said, 'It was so and I was a rank Tory once, for I never believed that America c'd proceed against Great Britain whose fleets and armies covered the land and ocean, but something very extraordinary converted me to the Good Faith!" "What was that," I inquired? 'Do you see that woods, & that plain. It was about a quarter of a mile off from the place we were riding, as it happened.' 'There,' said he, 'laid the army of Washington. It was a most distressing time of ye war, and all were for giving up the Ship but that great and good man. In that woods pointing to a close in view, I heard a plaintive sound as, of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling & went quietly into the woods & to my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis, & the cause of the country, of humanity & of the world."

'Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying.'

'I went home and told my wife. I saw a sight and heard today what I never saw or heard before, and just related to her what I had seen and heard and observed. We never thought a man c'd be a soldier & a Christian, but if there is one in the world, it is Washington. She also was astonished. We thought it was the cause of God, & America could prevail.' "He then to me put out his right hand & said 'I turned right about and became a Whig.' "

As we celebrate our Independence tomorrow, let us also remember our Independence was declared toward a tyrant king. In doing so, we became even more dependent on the King of Kings, and no one knew better than our Founders how very much they needed the blessing of God.

Washington's prayer was on behalf of his soldiers and their worthy cause, yet it changed the heart and life of a man who merely observed Washington asking God for favor and blessing.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed. Be Free.


  1. I just heard the news about I-1192. You owe all of your supporters and donors, including me, an explanation. Why did you do nothing to help? Why did you let Steve Pidgeon twist in the wind? You had all of June, after R74 had qualified for the ballot, to help I-1192. But you did nothing and said nothing, letting Pidgeon do all the work himself with little money.

    Why do you think I would lift a finger for R74 after you have helped undermine the genuine measure that would have truly protected traditional marriage. R74 won't do the job and you let the real effort go down to defeat. You owe us an explanation!

  2. I am also sad as many others: it was about the same effort to ask to sign 2 papers (R74 and I-1192) in stead of only one.
    I do not know if there is any political interest, why I-1192 was so quiet, because I would like to think that we are 100% supporting traditional marriage and not only in part.
    This is war between God and evil and the people who represent them, is not personal. Just see our weather it shows the spiritual darkness.

    1. Seriously? Our weather is determined by our 'spiritual darkness'? Are we back to the 1700's?

  3. 12:32 You are terribly misinformed. I worked with Gary all the way through the signature gathering for both R-74 and I-1192. Friends of Faith and Freedom under Gary's leadership gathered over 80,000 signatures for R-74 and about 60,000 of the 100,000 gathered for I-1192. Gary and all of us who worked on I-1192 were critized by some of the leadership of R-74 for supporting both. People with R-74 tried to undermine us and Pidgeon, telling pastors and other people not to sign the I-1192 petitions. Gary strongly supported both measures, that is why I support Gary and Faith and Freedom. He did not get involved in the back stabbing, etc. that some were involved in and yet we gathered as many or more signatures than any other single organization for both I-1192 and R-74. Gary was often critized for his full support of I-1192. Before you start spreading the kind of information, you better talk to Steve Pidgeon, Sharon Hannak and others who led I-1192. They know how much we supported them. You, my friend are very wrong.

  4. This is what Steve Pidgeon had to say on Kgmi.com:

    "The truth is there was a competing measure ... and the referendum, let's just say they were very hot in their competition and even though we supported their effort they did not support ours," Pidgeon said."

    This backs up what 5:59 said. The R74 people stabbed Steve Pidgeon and all supporters of traditional marriage in the back and destroyed I-1192.

    The terrible thing is that R-74 is the sham measure. I-1192 is what would have defined marriage correctly and explicitly and it would have been embedded that correct definition in WA law regardless of what the liberal legislature wanted to do.

    R74 does none of this. It is a kind of fraud. I will vote for it, but can't see sending money or hitting the streets for R74 when its backers show such complete disrespect for Christians and for defining traditional marriage properly in the law.

  5. So much for the revisionists, our country was founded on the general principles of Christianity. We would do well to continue to build on the rock that cannot be moved. Jesus Christ.

    Craig in Lacey

  6. 7:22 You are absolutely correct. I also worked with Gary and Faith and Freedom getting signatures for both measures. Gary told me he thought the I-1192 was the stronger measure because it would have stopped the state from issuing marriage licenses to anyone except one man and one woman and it would have required a 2/3 majority to overturn in the legislature for the first two years. R-74 if it suceedes will overturn the current bill to redefine marriage, but Murray will probably introduce another bill in January. Gary told me he was very disappointed in the way the R-74 people undermined Steve Pidgeon and his petitions because it was the stronger measure, but both have a role. R-74 has stopped gays from getting married for now.

  7. 12:32 What kind of explanation do you think Gary owes all his "supporters and donors"? He is the one person who whole heartedly supported both measures and his organization collected more signatures for both R-74 and I-1192 than any other organization. Gary supported Pidgeon with all the resources he had. What are you taliking about? You sound like a wolf in sheep's clothing.

  8. Hey 12.32 You say we did nothing. I worked with Gary and FFN and I went out every week end getting signatures for both measures. Please tell some one else we "did nothing." How many signatures did you collect?

  9. 12:32 is right to be frustrated and angry, but his frustration and anger should be directed at the R74 people, not at Gary. Gary tried to help I-1192, but the R74 people strangled it.

    Here's the huge problem with R74. Even if we win, the very next day the legislature can reenact homosexual marriage. After emptying our wallets and exhausting ourselves on R74, we would be right back where we started.

    It takes a huge effort to conduct these campaigns and they know that we can't do this year after year. They have Gates and Ballmer money and all the media and can do this again next year. We can't. R74 allows them to grind us down. I-1192 would have prevented that, and it would have explicitly placed God's definition of marriage into the law. All this makes you wonder why the R74 was created in the first place and why we allowed anything to compete with I-1192. Who made that decision, I'd like to know!

    As someone else said, I may hold my nose and vote for R74, but I am not going to send money to these people and I am not going out with my wife and kids in the rain to work for it (which I did a few years back for R71).

  10. If a man will not lift a finger to support something he believes is good because he perceives another man is working to undermine it, who is it that he follows?

  11. After reading this article, the words "good conversation" came to mind. I knew there was a verse from the Bible about men winning others by their good conversation. So I put the words "good conversation" in my electronic concordance which does supply related verses and the following verses came up:

    James 3:13
    I Peter 2:12, 3:16

  12. I hear a lot of whining about how tough this was and will be. Remember Jesus' words, " a servant isn't above his master, if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." Fight the good fight, in time we will reap a reward, if we don't lose heart and give up. Pick up your cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23)

    Craig in Lacey

  13. 6:11, what makes you so sure that R74 is so good? Putting us in a war of attrition, fighting the same battle over and over until all our Christian ministries and groups are impoverished and without resources to fight any other battle doesn't seem like such a good thing to me.

    I think the solution is to not waste our time and money on R74, but to organize a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. This is what we should have done from the beginning. That is the only thing that will protect marriage and avoid the quagmire that R74 is leading us into. Steven Pidgeon could lead the effort and work off of the 100,000 signatures he already has.

  14. 12:29, Do you really have so little faith in the power of God?
    Do you think carrying a cross is supposed to be light? It doesn't matter if any of us is the last man standing. It doesn't matter if our money is gone, our families taken from us, if we are tortured and killed for the gospel.

    Our lives no longer belong to us, we were bought with a price. We need to put on our breastplates and helmets and pick up our swords, which is the Word of God, and stand firm.

    Why are we afraid?

    Craig in Lacey

  15. Craig, He calls us to do battle in this fallen world. Our salvation doesn't depend on our winning the battle, but our obedience to the Lord requires us to do our best.

    It is unbiblical to suggest that Christians should allow themselves to be maneuvered into a losing position. If your enemy wants you to fight a battle of attrition, then you don't fight they way he wants you to fight. R74, I am sorry to say, puts us in a grinding year after year battle, where we can be ground down. Like David, we must know how to fight on our terms. We should work to put in a firm, long-lasting protection for traditional marriage and NOT waste our blood, sweat and tears on one temporary referendum after another.

  16. Brother

    I agree, our salvation doesn't depend on our winning the battle, the battle is the Lords' ultimately. Yes, we should do our best thru the strength and wisdom He supplies. Our salvation is by grace thru faith, lest any should boast.

    You do realize the battle of attrition has been going on since the fall of man, it's nothing new. It happened in ancient Israel, the early church, the inquisition, the reformation, it's still happening today. The way we fight is with the word of God and by encouraging each other to stand firm.

    Do you think the enemy wanted R74? I too would have liked to have seen I-1192 on the ballot, it didn't make it, sorry to say. I'm sorry also that you felt maneuvered into supporting R74, did you not understand the scope of it? I signed with no regrets, I'll do so again and again. The initiative can be brought back next year if necessary, I'll sign it, no prob.

    David didn't give up, no matter the cost, neither should we.

    Craig in Lacey


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