Presidents and Prayer – Part 12

Harry Truman President Truman declared a Day of Prayer on Aug. 16, 1945: The warlords of Japan…have surrendered unconditionally…Our global victory… has come with the help of God…Let us…dedicate ourselves to follow in His ways. But the path to peace would be difficult. Roosevelt would die a month before victory in Europe. Four days after…

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Presidents and Prayer – Part 11

Franklin D. Roosevelt In 1932, Roosevelt was elected in a landslide. On the eve of his inauguration, he gathered aides and instructed them to call designated cabinet members to join him and his family at St. John’s church for a private prayer service.[1] His braces and the additional attention his role as the President made…

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Presidents and Prayer – Part 10

Calvin Coolidge  Calvin Coolidge learned that President Harding had died at 2:30 AM while he was on a vacation in Vermont. He and his wife dressed and then knelt in prayer together. The local justice of the peace swore him into office. Early in his term, he would lose his sixteen year-old daughter to blood…

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Presidents and Prayer – Part 9

World War I Both Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft had advanced the idea of ‘muscular Christianity.’ Roosevelt would say ‘Jesus was a man’s man – strong, muscle-bound, and physical.’ The idea carried over into war recruitment. Men, strong men, vital men – could be men of prayer! The idea of war divided the nation. “We’ll…

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Presidents and Prayer – Part 8

Chester Arthur President Chester Arthur was always dressed fashionably and gave the office a dignity it had lost under Johnson and Grant. He was an Episcopalian, but never one strong in faith. His prayer life deepened in his days in office. He had lost his wife the previous year. The weight of the office and…

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Presidents and Prayer – Part 7

Rutherford Hayes Hayes had been baptized a Presbyterian, but his interest was in the new secular religion, then the rage in some circles, transcendentalism. The movement had been launched by the secular preacher-poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Thoreau. This was the birth of the genuinely secular pulpit and the movement was gaining traction. Further,…

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President and Prayer – Part 6

Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce Franklin Pierce followed Millard Fillmore, whose marriage to a Baptist minister’s daughter did not seem to awaken a sense of piety in him. In one of the few religious references, he wrote as he entered office, “I rely upon Him who holds in His hands the destinies of nations to…

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Presidents and Prayer – Part 5

Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, led our nation through the War Between the States. He was one of few Presidents to resist church membership and yet he was profoundly a man of faith, perhaps the most deeply Christian President in all our history. He had planned to join the…

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Presidents and Prayer – Part 4

President James Polk As a result of a deadlocked convention, James Polk emerged as the democratic nominee facing Henry Clay, of the Whig Party, in the general election. Polk won. His Presidency was overshadowed by the Mexican War of 1846-1848. During his tenure, Texas became a state, and the areas constituting California, Nevada, Utah, New…

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