Celebrate the true meaning of Independence Day with this classic devotion.
- Posted on May 27, 2017
And their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, even unto heaven. —II Chronicles 30:27
What a wonderfully American holiday it is, this fourth day of July! On this day, beyond the cookouts and picnics and fireworks, we try to see ourselves as one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all. What a privilege to live in a land where it’s possible to reach for an ideal like that!
All of us have special recollections of past Fourth of July holidays. If you grew up in a small town, if your memories go as far back as mine do, you may recall the parade down Main Street with flags flying and the band blaring “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Or the evening concert at the park’s bandstand with red, white and blue bunting fluttering and the fireflies lighting their little lanterns in the shadows under the trees.
Year after year, while our children were growing up, there were evenings by the lake or on a hillside where every child waited impatiently for the sky to grow dark enough for the fireworks display to begin. In those long expectant moments I used to think of those 56 brave men who, by signing the Declaration of Independence, pledged “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor” in a cause that many regarded as almost hopeless.
They had an untested army, almost no navy, little with which to confront the might of England. But they did have one thing: the power of prayer. Their reliance on that shines through almost everything they said or wrote. That’s where their courage and determination came from.
I used to imagine the prayers of men like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Patrick Henry rising up through the dark skies of uncertainty until they “came up to His holy dwelling place,” exploding there before God’s throne like a shower of golden stars.
That’s what I’ll be thinking about again this Fourth of July evening, when the time comes for the rockets to go soaring into the summer sky.
God bless America!