I was riding with Mr. Potts near to the Valley Forge where the army lay during the war of ye Revolution, when Mr. Potts said, ‘Do you see that woods & that plain? There laid the army of Washington. It was a most distressing time of ye war, and all were for giving up the Ship but that great and good man. In that woods (pointing to a close in view) I heard a plaintive sound as of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling & went quietly into the woods. To my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis & the cause of the country, of humanity & of the world. Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying. I went home & told my wife. We never thought a man could be a soldier & a Christian, but if there is one in the world, it is Washington. We thought it was the cause of God & America could prevail.”

Source: Eyewitness testimony of Isaac Potts, a Valley Forge resident who shared the following story with the Rev. Nathaniel Randolph Snowden (1770-1851), who then recorded it in his “Diary and Remembrances.”


9 Responses to “Washington’s Prayer at Valley Forge”

  1. 1 coas August 6, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    where is the original of Prayer at Valley Forge – George Washington”

  2. 2 Michael Tim February 28, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    I love your site!

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  3. 3 Anonymous March 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I hate to burst your bubble but Washington was only a Diest and nothing more. This is not an opinion but a fact. The prayer that is often attributed to him has in fact been rewritten to sound more christian. The real prayer was a circulatory letter written by him after the war to the 13 governors of the states. In the real letter, which can be found here: http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/washington/earnestprayer.htm, there is no mention of Jesus nor any of the Christian trimmings that have been recently given to it.

    It was his peers who labeled him a diest because he would always circumvent questions about his faith. There is no question Washington believed in some God, but his language and frequent use of replacement words like providence, show his lack of denomination. Washingtons main goal with regards to religeon was to keep it out of government. He was often quoted saying that the quarells between denominations should never be allowed to disturb the peace of society.
    Heres a quote from George:
    If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.
    — George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

    • 4 David July 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      Hate to burst your bubble, but George Washington was deeply religious, do your homework and don’t believe those revisionist government socialist websites. Really, do some real reading, not propaganda.

      • 5 billo'really November 4, 2010 at 9:55 pm

        Hate to burst your bubble, but George Washington was a deist, do your homework and don’t believe those revisionist christian fundie websites. Really, do some real reading, not propaganda.

  4. 6 KyBo December 12, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I hate to burst your bubble Bill’o, but facts are facts. There are numerous, documented instances of Washington citing God, such as Washington improvising the phrase, “so help me God” at the end of his oath of office during his first innauguration, followed by him kissing the bible that he took the oath on. Washington, in admonishing his soldiers in 1776 after they helped tear down a statue of King George III, said that he expected “that every officer and man will endeavor so to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier.”
    The list goes on and on. I know it just kills athiests and radical progressives that the founding fathers were men of faith, and that America was founded on christian values as equally the value that every American was free to worship however he chooses, or not worship at all, but blindly ignoring the facts makes you look as pathetic and ignorant as any other bigot. Wake up.

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