Of all the monuments and memorials in the National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial might be the most famous. (By National Mall, I don’t mean a shopping plaza with a food court. It’s the name of the national park lined with many of D.C.’s monuments.)
Engraved on either side of Lincoln’s statue are both his Second Inaugural Address and his Gettysburg Address. The lesser well-known of the two is his inaugural address, which focuses on the Civil War conflict that had been tearing the nation apart during his presidency.
I want to share with you an excerpt that reveals our sixteenth president’s faith and humility.
Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease … Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes.
Lincoln acknowledged that good men on both side of the fight believed their cause to be just and prayed to the same God. You see, although slavery was a point of division (and certainly needed to end), it was not the only reason for the war. In fact, not all Southerns were fighting for slavery, nor were all Northerners fighting against it. There were other factors at stake that jeopardized the interests of both North and South. As a result, good people disagreed.
Regardless, Lincoln recognized that God would accomplish “his own purposes” through the conflict, and he desired to see the Union unified once more. In his last speech, he revealed his desire to reunite the nation and do all things necessary “to restoring the proper practical relations between these [seceded] States and the Union.” Unfortunately, his assassination six days after Lee surrendered at Appomattox served to further divide the already war-torn country.
A Tribute to Mothers
The Lincoln Memorial represents the contribution this man made to our country, but it provides only a glimpse into who Lincoln was.
Before becoming president, he experienced some tough failures. In fact, he tended to have nearly as many setbacks as he did successes.
Why didn’t he quit? His character and perseverance doubtless did him credit, but something Lincoln said about his mother suggests the impact she made on his life, the impact any praying mother can have on her child. He is quoted as saying:
I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. – Abraham Lincoln
If you have (or had) a mother who prayed for you, you are truly blessed. Even if you don’t, you personally have the opportunity to have a relationship with God and talk with Him in prayer.
The Bible specifically tell us we should “pray for one another,” and that doing so makes a difference (James 5:16). You never know the impact you might have on someone’s life.
Happy Mother’s Day!
I want to wish all the mothers a wonderful Mother’s Day and say a special thank you to my own beautiful mom who so very faithfully prays for me.
Parting thought: Lincoln recognized the influence his mother’s prayers had on his life. What impact has someone’s prayer made on yours? Are you praying for others the way you should?
The Lincoln Memorial and a Mother’s Day Tribute – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)