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1861 (July 4) Senate Prayer
The following prayer was offered by Rev. Byron Sunderland, D.D.
Almighty and everlasting God, be not angry with us for our sins, which we only confess and deplore; but pardon our offenses and extend to us Thy favor. We thank Thee for Thy goodness on this anniversary of the nation a day tenfold more precious by reason of our present troubles, and sacred to the heart for the ever memorable Declaration of our fathers, in which Thou didst begin more openly to give us a name among the nations of the earth.
We thank Thee for all Thy manifold and abundant mercies hitherto to make our nation exceedingly great and glorious; but now disasters have befallen us and darkness broods in the land. And now we ask Thy mercy as the Senate is convening at a most momentous crisis of our history. Give to Thy servants all needed help. Add to their deliberations wisdom and unanimity, and profit and speed to their conclusion. Bless Thy servant, the President of the United States, our veteran Commander-in-Chief, and all that have functions in the civil and military power. May the angel of Thy presence walk in the Cabinet and in the Congress and in the camp, to go before, to purify, and to direct the now greatly and universally-awakened love of country.
And we beseech Thee to guide us, to overrule and order all things, and so to cause that nothing shall fail, that the disorders of the land may be speedily healed, that peace and concord may prevail, that truth and righteousness may be established, and that Thy Church and Kingdom may flourish in a larger peace and prosperity, for Thy Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
(Source: Congressional Globe, 37th Congress, first session, new series, 1, 4 July 1861.)