By Dr. Mal Couch
Public prayer, spiritual publications of poems and music, have always been a part of America, until recently. There are forces now trying to silence the Christian spiritual heritage of open and free expression to our God that made this nation great.
Each week I’ll add some historical tidbits as how Christian expression and public prayer was a vital part of our nation’s blessing. We may not fully know of the spiritual state of all the men we examine, but we do know none of them were fearful of prayers to the God of the Bible in the public setting.
If you are a pastor or Sunday school teacher, please print off these little bits of our history and share them with others.
The New England Primer Improved
The popular New England Primer was revised and turned into a new and improved version. While published in New York it went in circulation throughout the school systems of the country. The Introduction read:
For older children came another book entitled Juvenile Devotion. This poem was put in the book to inspire morning prayer:
The evening prayer read:
Another widely circulated book followed for family use entitled Family Prayer. It was to be used for family devotionals and "to take the lead in ensuring that their children became constant in their prayers as the sure path to a virtuous life." The book insisted that fathers should read to their children not mothers unless fathers have died. "It stressed the need for such fathers, not mothers, to take the lead in ensuring that their children became constant in these prayers." The Introduction read:
The utility of books of this description in a Christian country can be questioned by none. There is not a Christian father of a family, who is not urged to acknowledge his obligations to the author, by whom he is furnished with the means of guiding the devotions of his household, and of teaching those, whose spiritual as well as temporal interests, are committed to his care, how, suitable, to address themselves to the Father of their spirits, the Preserver of their lives, the Bestower of their blessings, and the Redeemer of their souls."