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The Story behind George Washington's
Prayer at Valley Forge

Throughout the Book of Mormon, there are several references to the choiceness of this land which you and I call, America. A land that is "choice above all other lands" and given to the  inhabitants thereof as long as they serve God, who is Jesus Christ. The earliest reference being in Ether, Chapter 2. That has and always will be the case with America. As long as we stay turned to the Lord, this land will be preserved.

In 1777, the American Army led by General George Washington was at Valley Forge and in some of the worst conditions any army had ever been in. Of that time, George Washington wrote in a letter to John Banister dated April 21, 1778 explaining their situation: 

"No history now extant can furnish an instance of an army's suffering
such uncommon hardships as ours has done and bearing them with the same
patience and fortitude. To see men without clothes to cover their nakedness,
without blankets to lie on, without shoes (for the want of which their marches
might be traced by the blood from their feet)...and submitting without
a murmur, is a proof of patience and obedience which in my opinion
can scarce be paralleled."

Because of their severe conditions, where on the average of 12 soldiers a day were dying, George Washington rode into the woods, away from his men to pray and ask God for help. Many have seen the painting where he knelt by his horse in prayer, some have wondered if it was really true. The incident was witnessed by a Quaker by the name of Isaac Potts who himself was walking through the woods and came upon General Washington as he prayed. General George Washington was unaware of Potts who stood watching him behind a tree. Potts, who heard General Washington praying out loud,

"With tones of gratitude that labored for adequate expression he adored that
exuberant goodness which, from the depth of obscurity, had exalted him to the
head of a great nation, and that nation fighting at fearful odds
for all the world holds dear..."

Afterwards, Potts returned home and threw himself into a chair by the side of his wife. She seeing his troubled nature asked him what was the matter. He replied,

"If I appear agitated tis no more than what I am. I have seen this day what
I shall never forget. Till now I have thought that a Christian and a soldier were characters incompatible; but if George Washington be not a man of God, I am
mistaken, and still more shall I be disappointed if God does not through him
perform some great thing for this country."
Recorded by Ruth Anne Potts. 

(as found in the book, America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations,
p. 635 with about 70 to 80 references for this story)


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