Editor’s note: Here are excerpts from Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore’s 1791 prayer for government.
We pray, thee O Almighty and Eternal God, who through Jesus Christ hast revealed thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of thy mercy, that thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of thy name.
We pray thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise among us the functions of the holy ministry. ...
We pray thee O God of might, wisdom and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted and judgment decreed, assist with thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the president of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.
We pray for the governor, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates and other officers ... that they may be enabled, by thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.
We recommend likewise, to thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.
To these, O Lord, grant, we beseech thee, a place of refreshment, light and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.
See Page 14 to learn more about Archbishop Carroll and his relatives, Charles and Daniel.