The Book of Common Prayer, written in 1662 under King Charles II, listed the scriptures to be read each day of the year. When the Second Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia, the chaplain prayed and read Psalm 35, the designated scripture reading for that day. The delegates had learned the day before that Boston was under attack.
Psalm 35, (NASB): “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; Fight against those who fight against me… Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life; Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me…
Lord, who is like You, Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him, And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?… The Lord be magnified… And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all day long.”
John Adams, in a letter to his wife, Abigail, described the moment: “[The Rev. Duche’] read the [Scriptures] for the seventh day of September, which was the Thirty fifth Psalm.—You must remember this was the next Morning after we heard the horrible Rumor, of the Cannonade of Boston.—I never saw a greater Effect upon an Audience. It seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that Morning.”
“In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain… we [the Continental Congress] had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered…” -Benjamin Franklin
James Still, JamesStill@RetraceOurSteps.com
“Every step, by which [the People of the United States] have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.” -George Washington