A Little Prayer of My Own

A Little Prayer of My Own

"Now, Dan," said Dad, "don't forget to say your prayers before you hop into bed."

Dan turned suddenly around and looked at his father. "Do I have to say a prayer of my own? I have been to Sunday school and church today. I heard the minister pray and our teacher pray and we all joined in the Lord's Prayer. Why do I have to say a prayer of my own?"

"That is a good question," said Dad, "and I am glad you asked it. Let me tell you, Dan, what happened when I was down in Washington, our nation's capital.

"Crowds were pouring off the trains and the streets were jammed with automobiles. People from every state in the United States were coming to the grounds around the Capitol. People came from foreign countries, too—ambassadors and diplomats, some of them dressed in colorful uniforms. Of course there was a huge parade of men from the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Air Force, and high overhead great swarms of jet planes were roaring across the sky.

"You see, these thousands of people had come to see the great event known as Inauguration Day. That is the day when the man who has been elected the President of these great United States stands on a platform on the steps of the Capitol and raises his hand above the open Bible, and makes a solemn promise to be a good President and serve the people with all his strength and ability. Of course, there were many people on the platform and the crowds were waiting for the President to arrive.

"The President knew that this was a great and solemn duty he was beginning and, so, early that morning, he had gone to church. He had listened to his own pastor as he prayed for him that God would give him strength and enable him to serve our country. Then he drove in an automobile amid the cheers that echoed and reechoed along Pennsylvania Avenue until he ascended the platform on the steps of the Capitol, astounded by the thunderous applause of the tens of thousands of Americans who loved him. The great and famous bishop came forward to offer prayer for this President and to ask God's blessing upon our nation, and then the President raised his hand above the Bible and took the pledge to be true to America and to God.

"Now, Dan, the President had been to church that morning. He had listened to a prayer by the famous bishop, and he had made a great promise over the open Bible and yet, Dan, do you know what he said when he got up to speak? This is what Dwight Eisenhower said: 'And now, if you will pardon me, I have a little prayer of my own that I would like to read to you.' This is the prayer of his own which he offered:

"'Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment we beseech that thou make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people of this throng and their fellow citizens everywhere.

"'Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby and by the laws of this land.

"'Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people, regardless of station, race, or calling. May co-operation be per­mitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concept of our Constitution, hold to differing political belief so that all may work for the good of our beloved country, and for thy glory. . . . Amen.'

"You see, Dan, the bigger the man is, the more often he feels the need of prayer. If the President of the United States, after hearing all the other prayers, felt that he needed a little prayer of his own, I imagine you will have a little prayer of your own, too, Dan. What do you think?"

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