This prayer was made 68 years ago by the sitting President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt. While the prayer lacks some elements of what most of us would consider a fully biblically balanced prayer should be, it is nonetheless, by today’s standards, outrageously politically incorrect. President Roosevelt had no fear of polls or focus groups. He had no fear of law suits. He had no fear of someone shouting violation of church and state. Why? Americans realized their utter dependence on God.
Take a few minutes to read this prayer. Notice FDR does not speak of many Gods or many faiths or many religions. He closes with asking that the will of Almighty God be done. Today, if there were such an urgent need as that which the nation faced in 1944, our leaders would likely lead us in a moment of silence.
No political party can provide a biblical vision of God. But God’s people in God’s churches can and must be salt and light. Whatever weaknesses the church had in 1944, and there were plenty, people accepted the prayer of their President as consistent with their own worldview. The open faith of Christians, for the previous three centuries, had much to do with this acceptance. Something to think about.
Franklin Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer June 6, 1944 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.
Read the rest of the prayer at Shepherd Press