This event, an event I hadn’t heard of, occurred shortly after the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa., where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.
Lincoln, according to Barton, was under extreme pressure — the war wasn’t going well for the Northern army then under the leadership of Gen. George McClellan (few battles won) and Horace Greely, owner of the influential New York Tribune, began to criticize Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation which had gone into effect on Jan. 1, 1863, criticism echoed by a group known as Copperheads.
According to Barton this little known event occurred shortly after Union Gen. George Meade failed to follow up his Gettysburg victory by attacking Gen. Robert E. Lee while Lee was retreating from Gettysburg.
It was then that Lincoln, Barton said, fell to his knees and pleaded with the Lord for the divine guidance he needed to help him win that deadly civil war.
Following this prayer Lincoln fired Meade and put Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in charge of his armies who then led them to the final victory in 1865, a victory that preserved the nation and freed the slaves — but at a huge cost in lives.
While listening to Barton a scripture came to mind. It reads: “Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.”
While reading this and its associated scriptures I couldn’t help think of Thomas Jefferson’s words embedded into the Declaration of Independence, words that read: “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator …” I think Lincoln might have had these words in mind when he issued his Emancipation Proclamation.
Jefferson’s words, as emphasized, did not exclude any race of mankind, but that America had been established to free all mankind from slavery, regardless of their race or religious beliefs.
Before telling of this war-changing event Barton told us of how often fasting and prayer is referred to in the Bible and how prayers, when offered in humility, have brought those who were fasting and praying through their individual and collective crises.
He reviewed how Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel had each fasted and prayed for deliverance from their afflictions.
The reminder for America from those biblical stories is that those biblical characters were all being held in bondage at the time those scriptures were recorded.
Please remember America is still free but is on the verge of being led into bondage as were those biblical characters of so long ago — and that if America is to remain free Americans should learn from their mistakes and humble themselves and fall to their knees in fasting and prayer and plead with their God to hear their prayers, and to help America know His will regarding the leadership of America for the next four years.
This led to another question. Can a nation turn itself around? The biblical answer is yes. Jonah (chapter 3) warned the evil and wicked city of Nineveh’s it was going to be destroyed in 40 days if they didn’t change.
Their king heard of Jonah’s warning and “caused it to be proclaimed and published through [out] Nineveh … saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.”
Verse 10 tells us “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
Should America’s leaders take note of this story and call for a national day of fasting and prayer?
I think so — the time has come for America to fast and pray for deliverance before being delivered into political bondage.
A scripture for those still unsure who to vote for on Nov. 6 is found is Acts 1:24.
It reads: “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen …”
America’s choice: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. I pray America chooses Mitt Romney and turns itself around — like Nineveh.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.