In September of 1774, the men who would become the Founding Fathers of the United States of America met in Philadelphia for the first Continental Congress, a series of meetings during the American Revolutionary War of representatives from the thirteen colonies.
On the first day, a very practical question arose: would the congress have any official prayers as a part of their proceedings?
Some were concerned that official prayers would only create inter-denominational problems, but Samuel Adams stood up and declared, “I am not bigot. I can hear a prayer from any man of piety and virtue and at the same time a friend of his country.” His words convinced the assembly to have an official prayer, and they asked the pastor of a nearby Anglican church to come the next day to pray for them.
It was fortuitous that they invited him, as his prayers inspired the whole assembly and strengthened them in their cause.
“I never saw a greater effect upon an audience,” John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail. “It seemed as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning.”
Hear what the pastor prayed and the rest of the story in this great video:
[See also: Inside America’s Forgotten Catholic Theme Park]