FDR’s D-Day Prayer

As I mentioned in my last post, I am reading a non-fiction booked called American Gospel, written by Jon Meacham. In that post, I mentioned Meacham had written about a prayer FDR shared with America on the evening of June 6, 1944 (D-Day).

Meacham provides some interesting background about the prayer including this note, “The White House released the text to the afternoon newspapers with the request that the audience–estimated at 100 million Americans–read it along with the president. If that estimate is right, then on that Tuesday in June, Franklin Roosevelt led what was, at the time, one of the single largest mass prayers in human history.”

Here is the full text of the FDR’s D-Day Prayer along with his introductory text:

“My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home – fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas – whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them – help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too – strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.”

Prayer for Our Enemies

I am reading, and very much enjoying, a non-fiction book called American Gospel, written by Jon Meacham. It is, as its title implies, a book about America’s attempts to keep Church and State separate.

I thought I would share some points from the book in a few posts. Here, for example, is a prayer a minister recited at the 1944 church service to commemorate FDR’s first inauguration. Apparently FDR liked the prayer a great deal and was very happy to have it included in the service. Given the events of the past few weeks which have upset many people, including me, I wanted to pass the prayer along. No matter who you might see as the “enemy,” following the various biblical admonition regarding one’s enemies, is a good idea at any time.

The prayer:

“Most loving Father, who by thy Son Jesus Christ hast taught us to love our enemies and to pray for them, we beseech Thee, give to those who are now our enemies the light of thy Holy Spirit. Grant that they, and we, being enlightened in conscience and cleansed from every sin, may know and do Thy will, and so be changed from foes to friends united in Thy service, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

A few paragraphs from this prayer is the full text of the prayer FDR himself offered up via radio. I will not reproduce the full text here. Since, though, it is apparently not covered by copyright and I can share it, then, without violating anyone’s copyright, I will share it in a new post. Meanwhile, if you want to hear the prayer as delivered by FDR, here is the link to the audio on the History Channel’s Web site:                       Play video