December 7, 1941 — the day Pearl Harbor was treacherously attacked by the Japanese — was described by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “a date which will live in infamy.” It was the worst naval disaster in American history, and brought declarations of war by Japan, Germany, and Italy against the United States, and by America against them. For four long years, American men and women served and died on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific, fighting tyranny and eventually bringing liberty across the world.
Shortly after the initial attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt called America to a time of prayer, explaining:
The year 1941 has brought upon our Nation a war of aggression… Our strength – as the strength of all men everywhere – is of greater avail as God upholds us. Therefore, I…do hereby appoint the first day of the year 1942 as a day of prayer, of asking forgiveness for our shortcomings of the past, of consecration to the tasks of the present, of asking God’s help in days to come. We need His guidance that this people may be humble in spirit but strong in the conviction of the right – steadfast to endure sacrifice and brave to achieve a victory of liberty and peace.
Three weeks later on January 6, 1942, he delivered his State of the Union Address, reminding America:
The world is too small to provide adequate living room for both Hitler and God. In proof of that, the Nazis have now announced their plan for enforcing their new German, pagan religion all over the world — a plan by which the Holy Bible and the Cross of Mercy would be displaced by Mein Kampf and the swastika and the naked sword.
(Pictured on the right is a WWII fund-raising poster from the WallBuilders library that was produced by the US government, depicting President Roosevelt’s words.) He understood that what began at Pearl Harbor was a spiritual conflict — an attack on the religion of the Bible — and that prayer would be a necessary spiritual weapon in that battle.
Today as we commemorate Pearl Harbor Day, we are still engaged in a spiritual struggle for the soul of the nation. And just as America did 75 years ago, we, too, should likewise seek God in prayer – seek His wisdom, ask forgiveness for our sins, and lift up before Him our honored military and their precious families. Remember to turn to God on this special day.