America’s founding generation was a praying generation. Their belief in the power of prayer was both a present conviction and a tradition going back to the very first immigrants to this land. For example, the very first act of the Jamestown settlers on disembarking at Cape Henry, VA in April of 1607, was to erect a seven-foot oak cross they had brought from England. They then gathered around the cross for a prayer service in which they dedicated the land of their new home to God.
Before the Pilgrims departed Holland in July 1620 for the New World, they set apart an entire day to pray and ask God’s blessing on their venture of faith. William Bradford said that after their pastor, John Robinson, brought an exhortation from Scripture, “The rest of the time was spent in pouring our prayers to the Lord with great fervency, mixed with abundance of tears” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 23-24).
In the New World, the Pilgrims, and the Puritans who followed them, met every challenge with prayer and would often set aside special days for prayer, fasting and thanksgiving. This prayer habit became a part of the cultural experience of New England and was practiced by succeeding generations. This prayer practice found its way into American culture and its influence can still be seen and felt today, although there are stringent efforts to remove it. 
A Great Prayer Awakening

After a time of spiritual decline in the late 1600s, a Great Awakening, beginning in 1726, profoundly impacted the Colonies and restored the spirit and culture of prayer to the populace. In his Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin tells of the change that came over his hometown of Philadelphia when George Whitefield preached there in 1739. He wrote,
The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was a matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 102).
Similar reports emerged from Georgia to New England of entire communities being transformed by the Awakening. A spirit of prayer seemed to be unleashed throughout Colonial America. In New England, Jonathan Edwards, pastor of the Congregational Church in Northampton, MA, reported that “the entire town seemed to full of the presence of God.” Prayer could be heard, not just at church, but in homes and everywhere one went in the town. 
The First Continental Congress Begins with Fervent Prayer
It is, therefore, no great surprise that the First Continental Congress, that met for the first time on September 5, 1774, opened with Bible reading and prayer. With British troops occupying Boston and having closed the Boston port, this was no formal prayer ritual, but a sincere lifting of their hearts to God, asking for His assistance and intervention in their fight for liberty.
The delegates asked an elderly, grey-haired Anglican minister, Jacob Dusche, to lead them in prayer. Dusche began by reading the entire 35th Psalm, which powerfully impacted everyone present. It is a prayer of David for deliverance and begins with the words, Plead my cause O LORD with those who strive against me; fight against those who fight against me. The Psalm ends with praise for God’s deliverance.
As the Psalm was read, a unique sense of God’s presence filled the room and tears flowed from many eyes. John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, of the impact of the Bible reading and prayer on the delegates. He wrote,
Who can realize the emotions with which they turned imploringly to heaven for divine interposition and aid. It was enough to melt a heart of stone. I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seems as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read that day. I saw tears gush into the eyes of the old, grave pacific Quakers of Philadelphia. I must beg you to read that Psalm (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 122).
After reading the Psalm, Dusche began praying for the delegates, for America and especially for the city of Boston and its inhabitants who were under siege. As he began praying, the Anglicans, such as George Washington and Richard Henry Lee, knelt in prayer, according to their custom. The Puritans, according to their custom, sat with bowed heads and prayed. Others prayed according to their own, unique customs. But although their outward manners differed, there was a singleness of heart and purpose as they all united in fervent prayer for God’s assistance and intervention for America.
The Congress and the Nation Pray
Prayer continued to be a daily part of the proceedings of the Continental Congresses. When, years later, Benjamin Franklin called the delegates of the Constitutional Convention to prayer, he reminded them, “In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible to danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 144).
In addition to the daily prayers, the Congress issued no less than fifteen separate calls for special days of prayer and fasting during the Revolutionary War. For example, during the fall of 1776, when the morale of the army and populace had sunk to an all-time low because of a poor harvest and hardship on the battlefield, Congress proclaimed December 11, 1776, as a Day of Fasting and Repentance.
John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian Reformer and member of the Congress, was deputized to write the proclamation, which was then approved by the rest of the Congress. It reads, in part,
WHEREAS, the war in which the United States are engaged with Great Britain, has not only been prolonged, but is likely to be carried to the greatest extremity; and whence it becomes all public bodies, as well as private persons, to reverence the Providence of God, and look up to him as the supreme disposer of all events, and the arbiter of the fate of nations; therefore; RESOLVED, That it be recommended to all the United States, as soon as possible, to appoint a day of solemn fasting and humiliation; to implore of Almighty God the forgiveness of the many sins prevailing among all ranks, and to beg the assistance of his Providence in the prosecution of the present just and necessary war (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 123-24).
There was an amazing change of circumstances after this and succeeding days of prayer, with successes on the battlefield and the reaping of abundant harvests. There was, in fact, such a turnaround that in 1779 Congress issued a proclamation setting aside a day of thanksgiving, because “it hath pleased Almighty God, the father of mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty.”
The Congress then listed seven different accomplishments of God on the behalf of the nation, including “many instances of prowess and success in our armies” and “so great abundance of the fruits of the earth of every kind, as not only to enable us to easily to supply the wants of the army, but gives comfort and happiness to the whole people” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 124).
Yes, the founding generation saw answers to their prayers. Indeed, when Franklin called the Constitutional Convention to prayer in 1787, he not only reminded them of the daily prayer during the War, but also that the prayers were answered. Addressing the Convention president, George Washington, he said, “Our prayers, sir, were heard and they were graciously answered” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 144).
Washington Makes Prayer a Daily Routine for the Colonial Army
The Second Continental Congress, which convened on May 10, 1775, asked George Washington to become commander-in-chief of the ragtag Colonial militias and to transform them into an army that could face the mighty British war machine. Washington accepted the call and began immediately to instill in the Colonial troops a very real faith in God, for as the Catholic scholar, William Novak, says,
Washington knew his only hope lay in a profound conviction in the hearts and daily actions of all his men that what they did they did for God, and under God’s protection (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 128).
Washington, therefore, issued an order that each day was to begin with prayer led by the officers of each unit. He also ordered that, unless their duties required them to be elsewhere, every soldier was to observe, “a punctual attendance of Divine services, to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and public defense.”
Washington also issued an order forbidding profanity and drunkenness; and in a general letter to his troops, he said, “The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier.”
That Washington himself was a devout person of prayer was confirmed by Isaac Potts, a Quaker who lived near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, when the Continental Army, led by Washington, was wintering there under much duress in 1777-78. Potts was a pacifist who opposed the war until he had a life-changing experience while riding through the woods one day during, perhaps, the bleakest period of the war. He said,
I heard a plaintive sound as of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling and went quietly into the woods and 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, and the cause of the country, of humanity and 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 could be a soldier and a Christian, but if there is one in the world, it is Washington (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 129).
Washington’s Earnest Prayer for America
The many prayers were heard and the unthinkable happened: The American Colonists defeated the mighty British army. The War officially ended on October 19, 1781 when General Cornwallis surrendered his entire force to Washington. In customary fashion, Cornwallis turned his sword over to Washington, and the weaponry of his troops was stacked in neat piles. As this occurred the British band played, “The World Turned Upside Down.” For freedom-loving people everywhere, however, the world had been turned right side up.
Having completed his call, Washington issued a letter of resignation as Commander-In-Chief to the Continental Congress. Then, he wrote what could be described as a pastoral letter, dated June 14, 1783, to the governors of the various states. This letter included his “earnest prayer” that is here quoted in part. He wrote,
I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens . . . to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another . . . and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of His example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 129).
After being sworn in as president, George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26, 1789 as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer. The proclamation assumes the obligation of all citizens to honor God and to pray for His protection and favor. It opened with the following statement.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God . . ..
Prayer is American
Yes, prayer played a vital role in the founding of America. Novak is correct when he says, “In all moments of imminent danger, as in the first Act of the First Continental Congress, the founding generation turned to prayer.”
Seeing the vital role of prayer in the founding of this nation, let us not be intimidated by the assertion that prayer is somehow inappropriate for public or political venues. Let us be bold in our faith. Let us be salt and light in this generation. Let us pray. It is the godly thing to do! IT IS THE AMERICAN THING TO DO!

This article is derived from the book Pilgrims and Patriots by Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html. To read about Eddie's passion and vision for another Great Awakening, visit his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.



In a letter dated July 2, 1756, Benjamin Franklin presented a proposal to George Whitefield, the most famous preacher of the Great Awakening, that they partner together to establish a Christian colony “in the Ohio,” which was frontier country at the time. 
In the letter, Franklin expressed confidence that God would give them success in such a project, “If we undertook it with a sincere regard to his honor.” He wrote,
"I imagine we could do it effectually and without putting the nation at too much expense. What a glorious thing it would be, to settle in that fine country a large strong body of religious [Christian] and industrious people! What a security to the other colonies; and advantage to Britain, by increasing her people, territory, strength and commerce. Might it not greatly facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen, if we could, by such a colony, show them a better sample of Christians than they commonly see in our Indian traders, the most vicious and abandoned wretches of our nation" (Hyatt, The Faith and Vision of Benjamin Franklin, 40)?
Friends to the Very End
Franklin had become friends with Whitefield eighteen years prior to this when Whitefield visited Philadelphia and preached to massive outdoor crowds. Franklin attended the meetings and was attracted to this young, fiery revivalist who was nine years his junior. Despite their differences, it proved to be the beginning of a close, life-long friendship.
Franklin and Whitefield became business partners with Franklin printing and distributing Whitfield’s journals and sermons and advising him in business matters. Whitefield stayed in Franklin’s home on at least one of his visits to Philadelphia and Franklin wrote to his brother in Boston, “Whitefield is a good man and I love him.”
For the next thirty years they carried on a lively and open correspondence with Whitefield often speaking about faith in Christ and admonishing Franklin to make sure he was prepared for the next world. When Whitefield passed away in Newburyport, MA on September 30, 1770, Franklin was in London. Obviously feeling a deep sense of loss, he wrote,
"I knew him intimately upwards of thirty years; his integrity, disinterestedness, and indefatigable zeal in prosecuting every good work, I have never seen equaled, I shall never see exceeded” (Hyatt, The Faith and Vision of Benjamin Franklin, 44).
Franklin’s Missionary Vision
The depth of Franklin’s love and respect for Whitefield is demonstrated by the fact that he wanted Whitefield to be his partner in establishing a new colony on the Ohio frontier. He had obviously moved away from his earlier Deism.

Notice that Franklin wanted to populate it with a “religious” and industrious people. When Franklin, or any of the Founders, speak of a “religious” people they are referring to Christians. Note also the missionary motive Franklin presented to Whitefield. He not only wanted to populate the colony with Christian people, he wanted the colony to be a base for introducing the Native Americans of that region to what he called “pure religion.”
Since he is writing to Whitefield, there can be no doubt that the “pure religion” of which he speaks is the Christ-centered, evangelical revivalism that Whitefield preached in Philadelphia and throughout the Colonies.
Although time and circumstances did not allow them the opportunity to launch this project, I suggest that Franklin’s vision for a Christian society never died but was fulfilled in the founding of the United States of America, of which he was one of the most important Founding Fathers.
Franklin’s Commitment to Christian Values
Franklin was no fiery evangelist like Whitefield, but he became convinced that only Christianity provided the moral system for a stable and prosperous society. He knew that Christians were far from perfect, but at least they acknowledged a virtuous, moral standard toward which to strive and to which they could be called to adhere.
Franklin’s belief in Christianity as a necessary moral force in society is why he rejected a manuscript from the well-known Deist, Thomas Paine, in which Paine attacked orthodox Christianity. Franklin, in very strong language, urged Paine not to print the book or even allow anyone else to see it. He wrote,  
"I would advise you, therefore . . . to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person; whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification by the enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a good deal of regret and repentance. If men are so wicked with religion [Christianity], what would they be if without it" (Hyatt, The Faith and Vision of Benjamin Franklin, 49).
Franklin Calls the Constitutional Convention to Prayer
Whitfield’s influence on Franklin can be seen at the Constitutional Convention seventeen years after Whitefield’s death. When the Convention reached an impasse and was in danger of disbanding without completing its work, it was Franklin, now eighty-one years of age, who arose and called the convention to prayer.
In his appeal, Franklin quoted from both the Psalms and the Gospels and reminded the attendees how God had answered their prayers during the war. Addressing the convention president, George Washington, Franklin said,
"How has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly appealing to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible to danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard and they were graciously answered. 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. I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business" (Hyatt, The Faith and Vision of Benjamin Franklin, 62-63).
Although his proposal was not “formally” adopted, there was much response on a personal level because of the respect with which he was held. According to those present, “an atmosphere of reconciliation seemed to settle over the convention hall.” Petty grievances and local interests were laid aside, and the delegates went on to complete their task of formulating the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. I think Whitefield must have smiled down from heaven on his old friend!
Yes, Franklin Wanted a Christian America
Modern secularists love to present Franklin as a nonreligious Deist who wanted to keep Christianity out of the public domain. Such a view of Franklin, however, is based on selected quotations taken out of context and without regard for his changing views on God and Christianity as he matured. Such a view also ignores his Puritan heritage and his close friendship with Whitefield.
Franklin, like all the Founders, did not want an official, state church like the nations of Europe. He did however, want a society whose populace would be governed by Christian principles of virtue and morality. This was made obvious in his letter to Whitefield, and in this sense, it is clear that Benjamin Franklin had a vision for a Christian America.
This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, The Faith and Vision of Benjamin Franklin. This book and others are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Dr. Hyatt has received a commission to reconnect America with its roots as a nation birthed in prayer and spiritual awakening. He can be reached at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com.



America was founded as a Christian nation, but not as a theocracy. Theocratic rulers claim a Divine right to rule over their subjects. America’s founders held no such grandiose view of themselves or any human being, and they had rejected the theocratic claims of popes, bishops, and monarchs. They had not, however, rejected Christianity.
America’s Founders, for the most part, identified with the mindset of those they called “dissenting Protestants.” The dissenting Protestant insisted that civil government should have no role in the church nor in matters of faith and conscience. Freedom from government tyranny in matters of faith was an ideal that pervaded the thinking of America’s Founders.
However, for there to be liberty without license, the Founders knew that the populace would have to be governed from within by virtuous values. That is why they all agreed that only Christianity provided the moral values and intellectual underpinnings for a stable and prosperous nation. 
The principles that made America great are universal principles that span time, race and space. They will work with any people or nation who have the courage to apply them. Here are 5 founding principles that made America great and will make her great again.
Principle #1
Faith in God as the Creator and Moral Governor of the Universe
The Founders considered belief in the God of the Bible as being essential for good citizenship. Unless the citizens would have a moral sense of obligation to their Creator, they would tend to live selfish, unrestrained lives, harmful to society.
This was expressed by James Madison when he wrote, “Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” Madison, the chief architect of the U.S. Consitution, also wrote,
The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 131).
The Declaration of Independence begins by acknowledging the Creator and recognizing that all human rights come from Him. That is the basis on which John Dickinson, chairman of the committee for the Declaration of Independence, declared in 1776, “Our liberties do not come from charters for these are only the declarations of preexisting rights. They do not depend on parchment or seals; but come from the King of Kings and the Lord of all the earth.”
After being sworn in as president with his hand on a Bible, George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26, 1789 as a Day of Thanksgiving. The proclamation assumes the obligation of all citizens to acknowledge God’s existence and to show honor to Him. It opened with the following statement.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God . . ..
Indeed, although there was tolerance for those of various faiths, there was a hostility toward atheism in early America. This was born out when a judge in the court of Chester County in the state of New York, threw out the testimony of a witness when the witness admitted he did not believe in the existence of God.
The judge said that by denying the existence of God, the witness had “destroyed all the confidence of  the court in what he was about to say.” The judge went on to say that it was the first time he had met someone who did not acknowledge the existence of God.
This event was recorded by the French sociologist, Alexis de Tocqueville, and occurred during his visit to America in 1831. Tocqueville said the incident was merely noted in the newspaper without further comment.
Yes, belief in the all-knowing, all-powerful God of the Bible—the Moral Governor of the Universe--was considered a necessity for a prosperous and stable nation by virtually all early Americans.
Principle #2
Belief in the Bible as the Source of Ultimate Truth
When George Washington placed his hand on a Bible to take the oath of office it was no mere formality, but a declaration that the Bible would be the ultimate source of wisdom and guidance for his administration. He also once said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 137).
A ten-year project instituted to discover where the Founders got their ideas for America’s founding documents found that by far the single most cited authority in their writings was the Bible. They were people of the Book and consciously and unconsciously used it as the standard for measuring all other writings both ancient and modern.
Knowing how the Founders esteemed and reverenced the Bible, it comes as no surprise that The First Continental Congress was opened with Bible reading and prayer. It is also no surprise that when Benjamin Franklin called the Constitutional Convention to Prayer, he quoted from both the Psalms and the Gospels (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 143-44).
The Founders respect for the Bible is why the first English Bible published in America, in 1782, included a recommendation from Congress. The recommendation read,
Resolved: That the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an instance of the progress of the arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.
The Founders lived at a time when the European Enlightenment and its emphasis on reason was drawing many on the European continent away from the Bible. America’s Founders, however, saw no dichotomy between the Bible and reason. William Novak says,
Everywhere that reason led, Americans found the Bible. If they read Francis Bacon, they found the Bible. If they read Isaac Newton or John Milton, they found the Bible. In Shakespeare, they found the Bible. In the world of the founders, the Bible was an unavoidable and useful rod of measurement, a stimulus to intellectual innovation.
This primary role of the Bible in America’s founding was acknowledged by Andrew Jackson, America’s 7th president, when he said, “That book, sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests.” Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th president, confirmed this, saying, “No other book of any kind ever written in English has ever so affected the whole life of a people.”
Principle #3
Human Nature Has Been Flawed by Sin
And Cannot be Trusted with Unlimited Power.
The Founders held the traditional Christian belief that humanity had been created a noble creature in the image and likeness of God, but that this image had become marred because of the fall and sin (Genesis 1-3). Because the image was not erased, humanity is capable of very noble deeds; but since the image is marred, he is also capable of very dastardly deeds.
Although modern society does not want to hear about sin, human history cannot be understood apart from it. Only the Biblical account of the entry of sin into the world provides the context for understanding the wars, genocides, inquisitions, holocausts, and cruelties that have been an ongoing part of human history down to the present time.
Yes, salvation through Jesus Christ restores the image of God in mankind, but this restoration is a process that is not completed in this world. Humanity—even Christian humanity—in this flawed condition cannot be trusted with unlimited power.
The historian, Benjamin Hart, wrote, “A central assumption of America’s founders was original sin, meaning the corruption of man’s character.” “Take mankind in general,” said Alexander Hamilton, “they are vicious.” James Madison added, “If men were angels no government would be necessary,”
It was this mistrust of human nature that influenced the Founders to divide the powers of government into three branches and to provide checks and balances to keep any individual or group from gaining unlimited power. The Founders would agree with Sir John Acton who said, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Marxism and liberalism claim that the problem with human corruption stems from corrupt institutions. The Bible teaches the opposite. It is corrupt human beings who create corrupt institutions. The Founders, therefore, not only instituted a limited government, but also counted on Christianity to provide the moral and intellectual influence necessary for a stable society, for only a virtuous people could be a truly free people.
Principle #4
Christian Values and Morality
Are Essential for a Stable and Prosperous Nation.
In his Farewell address after serving two terms as America’s first president, George Washington declared, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion [Christianity] and morality are indispensable supports.” He goes on to say that the person who would “labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness” can never claim to be an American patriot.
Thomas Jefferson was in complete agreement and he made Washington’s Farewell Address required reading at the University of Virginia, which he had founded. And notice that Washington did not call religion optional. The word he used was “indispensable” and Jefferson obviously agreed. It should be remembered that when the Founders used the word “religion” they were referring to Christianity.
Jefferson may have had questions at times about certain aspects of Christian doctrine, but there is no question that he saw Christianity as providing the moral and intellectual system necessary for a stable society. Having read the Koran and the literature of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Enlightenment, he stated, “Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observations, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.”
Jefferson’s commitment to Christian values is why he closed all presidential documents with the appellation, “In the year of our Lord Christ.” It is also why he took money from the federal treasury to pay for missionaries to work among the Kaskasia Indian tribe and to build them a building in which to worship.
Washington, Jefferson and all the Founders knew that the success of the nation they had formed hinged on the moral character of its citizens and their ability to govern themselves according to Biblical values. This is why John Adams, in a 1798 address to the officers of the Massachusetts Militia, declared,
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . .  Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious [Christian] people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 173).
The Founders did not believe that there could be liberty apart from virtue, or freedom apart from morality. Only Christianity offered the moral and intellectual underpinnings that would preserve the nation they had brought into existence. This is why Novak says, “The founders did not believe the constitutional government they were erecting could survive without Hebrew-Christian faith.”
Principle #5
Government Exists to Protect Faith and Freedom
No part of the Constitution has been so mangled and misapplied as that part of the First Amendment that reads, “Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion or hindering the free exercise thereof.” Secularists have wrenched this statement from its historical context and original intent and made it to mean, not freedom of religion, but freedom from religion.
The fact is, however, that the day after voting to ratify the First Amendment, those same Founders issued a proclamation for a day of prayer and thanksgiving. Congress continued to be opened with prayer and Bible reading and prayer continued to be a daily part of the normal school day in America. Presidents also continued to issue proclamations for special days of prayer and thanksgiving.
When Jefferson used the phrase “wall of separation” in a letter to a Baptist association, he was assuring them that the First Amendment guaranteed them protection from persecution by the state such as they had known in the Old World and even in Jefferson’s home state of Virginia. Jefferson saw the First Amendment as a unilateral wall erected to keep the government out of the church, not to keep the influence of the church out of government.
By implementing the First Amendment, the Founders were simply saying that America would never have a national, state church as had been the case in Europe since the time of Constantine. Indeed, it was from these oppressive state churches that their parents and grandparents had fled. They wanted to guarantee that no American citizen would ever be forced to act against their conscience and sincerely held religious beliefs.
The Founders would be astonished to see how the First Amendment has been distorted by modern secularists into a weapon against religious liberty, the very thing they meant to protect. Their simple purpose was to make sure that Christianity would be protected from government intrusion and that no denomination would ever be singled out for special favors.
America Founded as a Christian Nation
Yes, America was founded as a Christian nation. This is not to be equated with a theocracy where individuals claim a direct mandate from God to rule and govern a people. The Founders had rejected that sort of thinking, but they had not rejected Christianity itself, for they considered Christianity to be necessary for the nation’s success and survival.
America as a Christian nation was understood as late as 1892 as expressed in the Supreme Court ruling of “Church of the Holy Trinity vs The United States.” After reviewing thousands of historical documents, the nation’s highest Court declared,
Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian . . . From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation . . . we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth that this is a Christian nation (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 167)
It is time to reject the lie that America was founded on secularism and multiculturalism. It is time for all freedom-loving people to stand up for truth. It is also time to pray for another Great Awakening that will return America to its founding principles, for only by returning to her founding principles will she ever truly be great again.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s books, 5 Pillars of the American Republic and Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Eddie has a passion to see another Great Awakening in America and he conducts “America Reawakening” events in which he shows how America was birthed out of a great Spiritual awakening and explains how we can expect another Great Awakening in our day.



On July 4, 2019, America will celebrate her 243rd birthday. She is the oldest constitutional republic in the world and many Christians, for various reasons, believe her best days are behind her and that she will now decline into insignificance. I too once believed that God was through with America, but that all quickly changed on a hot summer day in 2010.
Ever since my commitment to Christ I have been a student and proponent of revival. By 2010, however, I had given up hope of America ever seeing another great, national spiritual awakening. The revivals of the 1990s, it seemed, had turned inward, becoming self-serving, and were powerless to stem the cultural and moral decline of the nation.
Although I believed there could still be individual and local revivals, I had reluctantly succumbed to the popular eschatological idea that there would not be another great revival and that America’s time in the sun was over and done.
Surprised by the Holy Spirit
That all changed, however, in the summer of 2010 when I experienced an eight-hour visitation of God that completely upended my thinking in this regard. It began on a hot summer day in Tulsa, OK when I began a two-hour drive to Kingfisher, OK where I would be preaching the following day in a Sunday morning service.
Without any warning or anticipation of such a thing happening, the Holy Spirit seemed to fill my car and I suddenly felt enveloped in God’s presence. At the same time my mind and heart began to be flooded with thoughts of hope and faith that America “could” see another great, national spiritual awakening that would impact the culture and alter the course of the nation.
As I drove along the highway, I was hardly aware of my surroundings. By the time I arrived at my hotel, my heart was so full I could hardly contain myself. I could hardly wait to open my notebook PC and began writing down the thoughts that continued to flood my mind. That experience lasted far into the night as I sat on the hotel bed and prayed and praised God and wrote.
The Fruit of That Experience
Two significant changes came out of that experience. Firstly, my hope was renewed for another national, spiritual awakening in America that would impact the culture and stem the tide of immorality and false religion that is flooding the land. Secondly, I saw for the first time that there was a direct bearing of the First Great Awakening on the founding of this nation. I saw that America had had a spiritual birth.
Out of that experience came my book America’s Revival Heritage and then The Faith and Vision of Benjamin Franklin. More than once I was amazed at how I was providentially led to resources to confirm the vision I had seen and to fill out the historical narrative to document America’s spiritual birth. This was important for as George Orwell said in his classic, 1984, “Whoever controls the past, controls the future.”
When America’s Revival Heritage sold out, and I began an edit for republication, there was so much new material that it soon became obvious that a new book was emerging. As a result, I published Pilgrims and Patriots, which expanded the historical narrative of America’s spiritual birth and showed, in even more detail, the role of prayer and the Great Awakening in her founding. Then came a small 38-page volume entitled 5 Pillars of the American Republic.
This research and writing has solidified in me the truth that was revealed to me that summer day in 2010. God brought forth America for a special purpose, and that purpose is not yet fulfilled.
God is Ready to Do it Again
Jonathan Edwards once said that when God determines to do a thing in the earth, He first sets His people to praying for the very thing that He has determined to give. One thing obvious is that there is a new hunger stirring across the body of Christ for a Divine awakening from heaven. Not something skillfully worked up by a religious maestro, but a Divine visitation that is prayed down from heaven.
Just a few days ago, I was providentially led to Zechariah 10:1, which reads, Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone. It was a fresh prod from the Lord to ask for the rain of the Holy Spirit in these days of the latter rain when God is pouring out His Spirit on all flesh as prophesied in Acts 2:17-18.
Yes, I am convinced that God is not through with America and that a fresh wind from heaven is about to blow across the land. 

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is a historian, Bible teacher and ordained minister. He has a passion to see America reconnect with her Christian roots and experience another great, national spiritual awakening. To contact him about sharing his "America's Reawakening" presentation to your church or group, send him an email at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com. Check out his books on Amazon and visit his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.