U.S. Senate Opens With Prayer - April 25
- 2013 25 Apr
Beginning APRIL 25, 1789, every session of the U.S. Senate has opened with prayer. This continued the Continental Congress' practice during the Revolution, as Franklin remarked in 1787: "In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection." The first Senate Chaplain was Bishop Samuel Provoost, who conducted George Washington's Inaugural Service at St. Paul's Chapel. All 62 Senate Chaplains have been Christian, though leaders of other faiths have periodically been invited to offer prayer. The U.S. Senate Chaplain after World War II was Peter Marshall, who prayed: "Our liberty is under God and can be found nowhere else. May our faith be not merely stamped upon our coins, but expressed in our lives." On February 7, 1984, President Reagan addressed the National Association of Secondary School Principals: "God...should never have been expelled from America's schools. As we struggle to teach our children...we dare not forget that our civilization was built by men and women who placed their faith in a loving God. If Congress can begin each day with a moment of prayer...so then can our sons and daughters."