"Unless the Lord builds this house,
they labor in vain who build it,"
The US Colonies had defeated the British and the articles of the confederation weren’t up to the task of starting our new great nation.
In the room making this decision, were the greatest men of their time. Giants in American history. And much like our world and lives today, they couldn’t agree on what to do next or what was the best direction to head.
After seeing enough, 81 yr old Ben Franklin stood and addressed the room.
This is What He Said
“In this situation of this assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings?
In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the divine protection.
Our prayers, sir, were heard – and they were graciously answered. All of us, who were engaged in the struggle, must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor.
To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend?
I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs, I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men!
If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it possible that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain, build it.”
Imagine the silence that took the room.
He Went on to Say
“I firmly believe this; and I also believe, that, without his concurring aid, we should succeed in this political building, no better than the builders of Babel: we shall be divided by our little partial local interests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become reproach.
I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers, imploring the assistance of heaven, and it’s blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning, before we proceed business; and that one or more of the clergy of the city be requested to officiate in that service.”
And the rest, they say is history.
Imagine the power of those words.
James Madison Later Wrote about Franklin’s Speech
“It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that almighty hand, which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical states of the revolution.
We would do well, as men and leaders in our communities and homes, to remember Ben Franklin’s words.
Before we “build” anything (relationships, business, leisure, etc) we need to go to the Lord because “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.”