George Washington, the father of our nation, had a deep and heartfelt faith in God. Below are a few quotes from his famous Inaugural Address on April 30, 1789, his proclaimed National Day of Thanksgiving, and his personal prayer book.
On May 14, 1787, George Washington warned the delegates to the Constitutional Convention:
If to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair; the event is in the Hand of God!
President George Washington, on April 30, 1789, delivered his famous Inaugural Address to both Houses of Congress. He had just taken the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City, with his hand upon a Bible opened to Deuteronomy, Chapter 28:
Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations and whose providential aides can supply every human defect; that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes; and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge.
In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow citizens at large, less than either.
No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.
And in the important revolution just accomplished, in the system of their United government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage …
We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps finally, staked on the experiment…
President George Washington, on October 3, 1789, from the City of New York, proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving:
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…
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these Unites States…that we then may all unite unto him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed…
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions…to promote the knowledge and practice of the true religion and virtue…
Given under my hand, at the City of New York, the 3rd of October, A.D. 1789.
George Washington kept a personal prayer book, written in his own handwriting, for each day of the week. Here are some excerpts, which provide insight into the depth of his Christian faith:
SUNDAY MORNING…Almighty God, and most merciful Father, who didst command the children of Israel to offer a daily sacrifice to Thee, that thereby they might glorify and praise Thee for Thy protection both night and day, receive O Lord, my morning sacrifice which I now offer up to Thee;
I yield Thee humble and hearty thanks, that Thou has preserved me from the dangers of the night past and brought me to the light of this day, and the comfort thereof, a day which is consecrated to Thine own service and for Thine own honor.
Let my heart therefore gracious God be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do mine own works but wait on Thee, and discharge those weighty duties Thou required of me:
And since Thou art a God of pure eyes, and will be sanctified in all who draw nearer to Thee, who dost not regard the sacrifice of fools, nor hear sinners who tread in Thy courts, pardon I beseech Thee, my sins, remove them from Thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept of me for the merits of Thy son Jesus Christ, that when I come into Thy temple and compass Thine altar, my prayer may come before Thee as incense, and as I desire Thou wouldst hear me calling upon Thee in my prayers, so give me peace to hear the calling on me in Thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of my soul in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me gracious God, the good work for which Thou hast sent it.
Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God and guide this day and forever for His sake, who lay down in the grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SUNDAY EVENING…O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving Father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins….Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou hast this day prescribed in Thy Holy Word; make me to know what is acceptable in Thy sight, and therein to delight, open the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith and repentance, increase my faith, and direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ the Way, the Truth and the Life, Bless, O Lord, all the people of this land, from the highest to the lowest, particularly those whom Thou has appointed to rule us in church & state.
Continue Thy goodness to me this night. These weak petitions, I humbly implore Thee to hear, accept and answer for the sake of Thy Dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
MONDAY MORNING…O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before Thy Divine Majesty, beseeching Thee to accept my humble and hearty thanks…direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate Blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit…Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, that living in Thy fear, and dying in Thy favor, I may in Thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life. Bless my family, friends and kindred, and unite us all in praising and glorifying Thee in all our works.
MONDAY EVENING…Most Gracious Lord God, from whom proceedeth every good and perfect gift, I offer to Thy Divine Majesty my unfeigned praise and thanksgiving for all Thy mercies towards me…I have sinned and done very wickedly, be merciful to me, O God, and pardon me for Jesus Christ’s sake…Thou gavest Thy Son to die for me; and hast given me assurance of salvation, upon my repentance and sincerely endeavoring to conform my life to His holy precepts and example…
Bless O Lord the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ…I beseech Thee to defend me this night from all evil, and do more for me than I can think or ask, for Jesus Christ’s sake, in whose most Holy Name and Words, I continue to pray, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name….
TUESDAY MORNING…O Lord our God, most mighty and merciful Father, I, thine unworthy creature and servant, do once more approach Thy presence. Though not worthy to appear before Thee because of my natural corruptions, and the many sins and transgressions which I have committed against Thy Divine Majesty; yet I beseech Thee, for the sake of Him in whom Thou are well please, the Lord Jesus Christ, to admit me to render Thee deserved thanks and praises for Thy manifold mercies extended toward me….
Bless the people of this land, be a Father to the fatherless, a Comforter to the comfortless, a Deliverer to the captives, and a Physician to the sick. Let Thy blessing be upon our friends, kindred and families. Be our Guide this day and forever through Jesus Christ in whose blessed form of prayer I conclude my weak petitions — Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name…
TUESDAY EVENING…Most gracious God and heavenly Father, we cannot cease, but must cry unto Thee for mercy, because my sins cry against me for justice…That I may know my sins are forgiven by His death and passion. Embrace me in the arms of Thy mercy; vouchsafe to receive me unto the bosom of Thy love, shadow me with Thy wings, that I may safely rest under Thy protection this night; and so into Thy hands I commend myself, both soul and body, in the name of Thy son, Jesus Christ, beseeching Thee, when this life shall end, I may take my everlasting rest with Thee in Thy heavenly kingdom. Bless all in authority over us, be merciful to all those afflicted with Thy cross or calamity, bless all my friends, forgive my enemies and accept my thanksgiving this evening for all the mercies and favors afforded me; hear and graciously answer these my requests, and whatever else Thou see’st needful grant us, for the sake of Jesus Christ in whose blessed Name and Words I continue to pray, Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name….
WEDNESDAY MORNING…Almighty and eternal Lord God, the great Creator of Heaven and Earth, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; look down from Heaven, in pity and compassion upon me Thy servant, who humbly prostrate myself before Thee, sensible of Thy mercy and my own misery…
Help all in affliction or adversity — give them patience and a sanctified use of their affliction, and in Thy good time, deliverance from them; forgive my enemies, take me unto Thy protection this day, keep me in perfect peace, which I ask in Thy Name for the sake of Jesus. Amen.
George Washington wrote about what he felt made America great:
It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.
It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being.
Religion is as necessary to reason, as reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose his reason in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to.
(source – One Nation Under God)