By Chaplain (Maj.) Charles Banks
Special to GUIDON
Pray together, stay together — principles supporting that saying include the ideas that people can disagree without being disagreeable, that synergy can be achieved when we love our neighbor as ourselves, and that God provides the wisdom needed to bring peace among those who humbly seek his purposes above their own (James 3:13-4:6).
That saying has been applied to families, to teams, and to other kinds of joint enterprise in which success requires cooperation amidst differing opinions.
Would you believe it was also applied to our nation at a critical moment of our history? “The American Patriot’s Almanac” tells the story about how our Constitutional Convention almost ended in failure, but was saved by a reminder to pray.
The delegates had been at an impasse over the number of votes to assign the states in congress. Some delegates were prepared to quit rather than persist in debate over that issue.
At the height of the turmoil, on June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin made this suggestion: the convention should pray and ask God for help. He reminded them of the important role prayer had played in the Revolution.
The almanac cites Franklin, “Our prayers…were heard, and they were graciously answered…And have we now forgotten our powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance?….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?”
With that, the convention calmed down. The Constitution was completed.
If we were to take a moment to compare the unity of our families, our teams, our nation, with the time we spend in prayer together, if possible, and privately for one another, at the very least, what would we find?
Of course, not all are of faith, nor do all pray, nor can we expect evil not to resist good. But can we not expect God to act in accordance with his wisdom, goodness, and strength when we pray, and can we not expect that those who do pray in humility will align themselves with his ways and means? I think in the latter, we would find a correlation to our unity as the people of God.
(Editor’s note: Banks is the U.S. Army Military Police School chaplain.)