Monday, August 3, 2015

Prayer and The American Spirit

Earlier in July, I wrote an essay for a local contest:  Here it is:

How Prayer Fuels American Spirit

          America is a land with a divine destiny, which has been blessed and protected for over 230 years. For generations the U.S. Constitution has stood as a backbone for the administration of proper government.
          Our society is reliant on agreement of principles and a common set of morals. John Adams stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

          Thomas Jefferson was given credit for words of the Declaration which marked the formal decision to rebel from British rule: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  

          Happiness is something that most of us seek and is fundamental in the theme of "American Spirit."   Think of it as "joy in the journey"--being at peace with ourselves wherever we are, who ever we are with, whatever we feel, whatever we are going through and whatever we have or lack.
          The idea of happiness envisioned in the Declaration of Independence included the notion of virtue and the existence of a natural moral law established by a Divine Creator. Guidance from above (prayer) and reason aid us in distinguishing objective norms of right and wrong.

Alexis de Tocqueville remarked:
          "Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.  America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America ceases to be great."

          How does Prayer fit in with sustaining the American Spirit?  Prayer is generally considered as two-way communication with a Divine Creator.   We offer a prayer and then receive an answer.
          Learning how to pray encourages making our own informed decisions and then petitioning to know if the decision is right.  This helps develop the capacity to make sound decisions on our own.   
          Talking to a friend at the end of a universal telephone line that knows everything about us and all our secrets is healthy for our souls. Being authentic, being ourselves, being in tune with our Higher Power helps us face courageously whatever trials and adversities may come our way.
          Prayer can provide a path to a safe harbor. Prayers of gratitude can help open us up to inspiration and hope.
           We pray for help, reassurance, guidance. We pray because we are grateful and appreciative.  We pray to create new channels of communication in our relationships so there is no war of control, no winner or loser.
          We pray for help to enjoy our life, to explore life, to take risks, to be alive, and to no longer live in fear.  Thus, prayer can be an instrument for love, peace and happiness if we choose--truly embracing the "American Spirit"--helping us to exhibit diversity, tolerance, resilience, ingenuity, patriotism and faith.    

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