“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” — Psalm 33:11

Did you know that Congress approved the use of the Bible in our schools in 1782 and even paid for them with tax dollars?

In 1844, when someone sued to remove them the Supreme Court ruled, “Why should not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, be read and taught as a divine revelation in the schools? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”

We sure have fallen far from that as a nation today, have we not?

Saturday, a retired New York City police officer and friend visited us. He was near the World Trade Center when it was hit by the planes that destroyed those buildings on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. Four attacks were coordinated by members of the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda. More than 25,000 were injured and 2,972 people died that day.

My friend said that when he and some of his fellow officers saw what had happened they just stood there and cried. Then they gathered in a circle, prayed, and went to work.

The following Sunday most churches were full. You would have thought it was Easter Sunday. Prayers were offered for the families of the victims, our nation, and our president. Church yards were filled with crosses and flags. But by the end of September, in most cases, attendance was back to where it had been before the attacks.

How quickly we forget. How quickly we allow other events or personal pleasures to diminish that which is most important. We have strayed far from our roots as a nation.

Our school systems and colleges and universities have become so secularized that huge chunks of information about the spiritual roots of our nation are neglected.

The hardy souls who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 fled from tyranny and oppression. They signed a proclamation while still on their ship that they had come to the new world for “the glorie of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

But as time passed and the original settlers died off many of their descendants were more concerned with having a comfortable living and increasing their wealth rather than being faithful to God and His Word.

Yes, some terrible things happened then. No nation is pure. In 1692 a slave girl was brought by her master to live in Salem, Mass. She began to tell young girls wild and vivid tales about voodoo and it wasn’t long until fear filled the community and the Salem Witch Trials began.

By 1730 only about 10% of the colonists attended church services. That which had begun “for the glorie of God and the advancement of the Christian faith” had almost disappeared. And those who oppose Christianity love to point out the faults of this time in our history.

But in 1734 Jonathan Edwards and a handful of other preachers began to preach. They did not limit their preaching to Sunday mornings from the pulpit; they preached in the community, in the streets, and wherever they found people willing to listen. This soon turned into a revival that spread throughout all 13 colonies.

So many people turned to Christ that this time in our history came to be known as The Great Awakening. In some towns the church services had to be held outdoors as the church buildings were not large enough for the crowds.

How far we have strayed as a nation. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.”

Our nation is not perfect. But I believe it became a great nation because our forefathers acknowledged God and their dependence upon Him. And it will continue to be a great nation only if we remember, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

I challenge you to join me daily in praying for our nation, our president and our leaders, that they will hear the Word of God and follow the Word of God, “for the glorie of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”

Emmett Murphy is a retired Christian pastor.