Below is an excerpt from the minutes of Congress dated December 11, 1776–just five months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It recommends a day of fasting and humiliation to seek God’s forgiveness and favor as a nation during the American Revolution.
DECEMBER 11, 1776.
WHEREAS, the just War into which the United States of America have been forced by Great-Britain, is likely to be still continued by the same Violence and Injustice which have hitherto animated the Enemies of American freedom: And, whereas it becomes all public Bodies, as well as private Persons, to reverence the Providence of GOD, and look up to him as the supreme Disposer of all Events, and the Arbiter of the Fate of Nations: Therefore the CONGRESS hereby RESOLVE,
That it be recommended to all the States, as soon as possible to appoint a Day of solemn Fasting and Humiliation, to implore of Almighty GOD the Forgiveness of the many Sins prevailing among all Ranks, and to beg the Countenance and Assistance of his Providence in the Prosecution of this just and necessary War. The Congress do also in the most earnest manner recommend to all the Members of the United States, and particularly to the Officers civil and military under them, the Exercise of Repentance and Reformation; and further, do require of the said Officers of the military Department, the strict Observation of the Articles of War in general, and particularly that of said articles which forbids profane Swearing, and all other Immoralities; of which all such Officers are desired to take Notice. It is left to each State to issue Proclamations fixing the Day that appear most proper for their several Bounds.
Extract from the Minutes,
CHARLES THOMPSON, Secretary.