Prayer for the Constitutional Convention

As this is a period, O Lord! big, with events, impenetrable by any human scrutiny, we fervently recommend to thy fatherly notice, that august Body assembled in this city, who compose our Federal Convention; will it please Thee, O Eternal I Am! to favor them from day to day with thy immediate presence; be thou their wisdom and their strength! Enable them to devise such measures as may prove happily instrumental for healing all divisions, and promoting the good of the great whole; incline the hearts of all the people to receive with pleasure, combined with a determination to carry into execution, whatever these thy servants may wisely recommend; that the United States of America may furnish the world with one example of a free and permanent government, which shall be the result of human and mutual deliberation, and which shall not, like all other governments, whether ancient or modern, spring out of mere chance, or be established by force. – May we triumph in the cheering prospect of being completely delivered from anarchy; and continue, under the influence of republican virtue, to partake of all the blessings of cultivated and civilized society!

— from the Fourth of July (1787) prayer for the Constitutional Convention of Reverend William Rogers

William Rogers

William Rogers

William Rogers (1751–1824) was an American clergyman who is perhaps most famous for leading the Constitutional Convention in prayer on July 4, 1787, at the Reformed Calvinistic Church of Philadelphia. Besides being the first student to attend and graduate Brown University (then known as Rhode Island College), from 1771 to 1824, Rogers was a Baptist clergyman, serving as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Philadelphia from 1772 to 1775. He also served as a chaplain in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

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