John F. Kennedy’s Prayers

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from 1961 until his assassination near the end of his third year in office. Kennedy served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his work as president concerned relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba. A Democrat, Kennedy represented Massachusetts in both houses of the U.S. Congress prior to becoming president.

We have collected some of the best John F. Kennedy’s Prayers to use in request to God. May these prayers for safety bring you comfort and peace of mind. May these prayers for strength encourage your spirit and strengthen your faith.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. – John F. Kennedy, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation 1963 

John F Kennedy Wallpapers by Kassie Pratt

President John F Kennedy

Proclamation 3560—Thanksgiving Day, November 05, 1963

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time of thanksgiving. On the appointed day, they gave reverent thanks for their safety, for the health of their children, for the fertility of their fields, for the love which bound them together and for the faith which united them with their God.

So too when the colonies achieved their independence, our first President in the first year of his first Administration proclaimed November 26, 1789, as “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God” and called upon the people of the new republic to “beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions… to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue . . . and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.”

And so too, in the midst of America’s tragic civil war, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November 1863 as a day to renew our gratitude for America’s “fruitful fields,” for our “national strength and vigor,” and for all our “singular deliverances and blessings.”

Much time has passed since the first colonists came to rocky shores and dark forests of an unknown continent, much time since President Washington led a young people into the experience of nationhood, much time since President Lincoln saw the American nation through the ordeal of fraternal war–and in these years our population, our plenty and our power have all grown apace. Today we are a nation of nearly two hundred million souls, stretching from coast to coast, on into the Pacific and north toward the Arctic, a nation enjoying the fruits of an ever-expanding agriculture and industry and achieving standards of living unknown in previous history. We give our humble thanks for this.

Yet, as our power has grown, so has our peril. Today we give our thanks, most of all, for the ideals of honor and faith we inherit from our forefathers–for the decency of purpose, steadfastness of resolve and strength of will, for the courage and the humility, which they possessed and which we must seek every day to emulate. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.

Let us therefore proclaim our gratitude to Providence for manifold blessings–let us be humbly thankful for inherited ideals–and let us resolve to share those blessings and those ideals with our fellow human beings throughout the world.

Now, Therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of the Congress approved December 26, 1941, 55 Stat. 862 (5 U.S.C. 87b), designating the fourth Thursday of November in each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 28, 1963, as a day of national thanksgiving.

On that day let us gather in sanctuaries dedicated to worship and in homes blessed by family affection to express our gratitude for the glorious gifts of God; and let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us in the great unfinished tasks of achieving peace, justice, and understanding among all men and nations and of ending misery and suffering wherever they exist.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this fourth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-eighth. [See APP Note.]

JOHN F. KENNEDY

John F. Kennedy praying

John F. Kennedy praying

“Let us go forth to lead this land that we love, joining in the prayer of General George Washington in 1783,

‘that God would have you in His holy protection…that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with … the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, without an humble imitation of whose example we can never hope to be a happy nation …'”

Proclamation 3436—National Day of Prayer, September 28, 1961

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Our founding fathers came to these shores trusting in God, and in reliance upon His grace. They charted the course of free institutions under a government deriving its powers from the consent of the people. In the General Congress assembled they appealed the rectitude of their intentions to the Supreme Judge of the world, and “with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence” they mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their most sacred honor.

During the deliberations in the Constitutional Convention they were called to daily prayers, with the reminder in sacred Scripture it is written that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build It,” and they were warned that without the concurring aid of Providence they would succeed in the political building “no better than the builders of Babel.”

In every succeeding generation the people of this country have emulated their fathers in defending their liberties with their fortunes and their lives.

Conscious of our continuing need to bring our actions under the searching light of Divine Judgment, the Congress of the United States by joint resolution approved on the seventeenth day of April 1952 provided that “The President shall set aside and proclaim a suitable day each year, other than a Sunday, as a National Day of Prayer, on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”

Now, Therefore, I, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, President of the United States, do set aside and proclaim Wednesday, the fourth day of October 1961, as the National Day of Prayer.

Let us all pray, inviting as many as may be visitors in our country to join us in our prayers, each according to his own custom and faith, for our Nation and for all peoples everywhere in the world; and most especially—

For Divine guidance in our efforts to lead our children in the ways of truth; that they may have the best opportunities we can provide as an environment in which to grow in body, mind and spirit, and to the end they may be at their best in their day as the responsible trustees of the great heritage which has come to us from those who went before us;

For a spirit of wisdom and understanding, as we move toward new frontiers of cooperation and brotherhood to overcome the curse of hunger, of ignorance, of superstition and of disease, by harnessing scientific knowledge to moral purpose;

For willing hands and a spirit of dedication, that, in awareness that this Nation under God has achieved its great service to mankind through the toil and sacrifices and subordination of personal desires to common welfare, we may move forward in the unconquerable spirit of a free people, making whatever sacrifices that need be made to neutralize the evil designs of evil men, and to work for goals of human betterment that lie beyond our span of years;

For peace in our time with freedom and justice and dignity for all mankind; and

Recognizing our own shortcomings may we be granted forgiveness and cleansing, that God shall bless us and be gracious unto us, and cause His face to shine upon us as we stand everyone of us on this day in His Presence.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this twenty-eighth day of September in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-sixth.

JOHN F. KENNEDY

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men,” – John F. Kennedy

Proclamation 3501—National Day of Prayer, October 11, 1962

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Whereas faith in Almighty God was a dominant power in the lives of our Founding Fathers; and

Whereas they expressed this faith in prayer, and in this posture members of the Continental Congress mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor; and

Whereas each succeeding generation has shared that faith; and

Whereas in full recognition of our dependence upon Almighty God and for our continuing need of His great blessings, the Congress of the United States by joint resolution approved on the seventeenth day of April 1952 a provision that “The President shall set aside and proclaim a suitable day each year, other than a Sunday, as a National Day of Prayer, on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals”:

Now, Therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, do set aside and proclaim Wednesday, the seventeenth day of October 1962, as the National Day of Prayer.

On this day, let us all pray, each following the practices of his own faith. Let us pray for our Nation and for other nations of the world. May we especially ask God’s blessing upon‑-

Our homes, that this integral unit of society may nurture our youth and give to them the needed faith in God, in our Nation, and in their future;

Our citizens, that they may increase in the desire to promote mercy and justice, peace and freedom, good will and brotherhood; that they may open new frontiers in helping to alleviate hunger, ignorance and disease;

Our Nation, that each new achievement may add to our heritage of faith;

And our world, that this generation may experience the fruits of peace and may know the real meaning of brotherhood under God.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this 11th day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-seventh.

JOHN F. KENNEDY

Guiding principle & prayer of this Nation has been, is now, & ever shall be ‘In God We Trust. – John F. Kennedy

Remarks at the 11th Annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast

February 07, 1963

Senator Carlson, Mr. Vice President, Reverend Billy Graham, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, gentlemen:

I am honored to be with you here again this morning. These breakfasts are dedicated to prayer and all of us believe in and need prayer. Of all the thousands of letters that are received in the office of the President of the United States, letters of good will and wishes, none, I am sure, have moved any of the incumbents half so much as those that write that those of us who work here in behalf of the country are remembered in their prayers.

You and I are charged with obligations to serve the Great Republic in years of great crisis. The problems we face are complex; the pressures are immense, and both the perils and the opportunities are greater than any nation ever faced. In such a time, the limits of mere human endeavor become more apparent than ever. We cannot depend solely on our material wealth, on our military might, or on our intellectual skill or physical courage to see us safely through the seas that we must sail in the months and years to come.

Along with all of these we need faith. We need the faith with which our first settlers crossed the sea to carve out a state in the wilderness, a mission they said in the Pilgrims’ Compact, the Mayflower Compact, undertaken for the glory of God. We need the faith with which our Founding Fathers proudly proclaimed the independence of this country to what seemed at that time an almost hopeless struggle, pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence. We need the faith which has sustained and guided this Nation for 175 long and short years. We are all builders of the future, and whether we build as public servants or private citizens, whether we build at the national or the local level, whether we build in foreign or domestic affairs, we know the truth of the ancient Psalm, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.”

This morning we pray together; this evening apart. But each morning and each evening, let us remember the advice of my fellow Bostonian, the Reverend Phillips Brooks: “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.”

[The President spoke first to the gentlemen in the hotel’s main ballroom and then to the ladies in the east room.]

Ladies:

I’m glad to be with you again this morning with the Vice President, Reverend Billy Graham, Dr. Vereide, Senator Carlson, the same quartet that was here last year and the year before.

I think these breakfasts serve a most useful cause in uniting us all on an occasion when we look not to ourselves but to above for assistance. On our way from the last meeting to this, we met two members of Parliament who carried with them a message from Lord Home to this breakfast, in which Lord Home quoted the Bible and said that perhaps the wisest thing that was said in the Bible was the words, “Peace, be still.”

I think it’s appropriate that we should on occasion be still and consider where we are, where we’ve been, what we believe in, what we are trying to work for, what we want for our country, what we want our country to be, what our individual responsibilities are, and what our national responsibilities are. This country has carried great responsibilities, particularly in the years since the end of the Second War, and I think that willingness to assume those responsibilities has come in part from the strong religious conviction which must carry with it a sense of responsibility to others if it is genuine, which has marked our country from its earliest beginnings, when the recognition of our obligation to God was stated in nearly every public document, down to the present day.

This is not an occasion for feeling pleased with ourselves, but, rather, it is an occasion for asking for help to continue our work and to do more. This is a country which has this feeling strongly. I mentioned in the other room the letters which I receive, which the Members of Congress receive, which the Governors receive, which carry with them by the hundreds the strong commitment to the good life and also the strong feeling of communication which so many of our citizens have with God, and the feeling that we are under His protection. This is, I think, a source of strength to us all.

I want to commend all that you do, not merely for gathering together this morning, but for all the work and works that make up part of your Christian commitment. I am very proud to be with you.

John F. Kennedy, The president of the United States

John F. Kennedy, Remarks at the 11th Annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/236913