The day was overcast, the leaden skies blanketing the Virginia landscape below in the heavy humidity of early October. The weight of the day could not compare to the heavy responsibility that now lay upon the shoulders of the young Major of the British army that walked along the well trod path to Meditation Rock, his mother’s favored place for reading and prayer. Her summons had commanded his presence by her side and he hesitated not to make the journey to his mother’s side. The brisk breeze sliced through the red wool of his uniform, its crisp presence crawled about his sweat-dampened skin causing a shiver to quack his large frame.
A matronly figure came into sight standing alone against the pewter sky. The breeze teased about her muslin skirts and plucked a sandy brown curl from its place beneath her bonnet. At the sound of his approach she turned, her blue eyes shown brightly and the pensive continence lifted as she reached out a delicate hand for her son to take. Close now he could see the lines that wrinkled about her eyes, and the glistening white strands that salted her hair. She was beautiful to his eyes and a balm to his heart. Her lilting voice commanded he kneel before her. His knees felt the rough rocky ground and his shoulders the light touch of her cool hands.
It is at this moment that Mary Ball Washington pulled her son aside for the first of two significant prayers of his life. That son was George Washington, a future General in the Continental Army and the First President of the United States of America. Although Mary was sure to hold her son in her prayers every day of her life, there were two times when she purposely called him aside for a significant time of prayer. The first was before his first military expedition as he led a unit of British troops to confront French encroachment in the Ohio River Valley.
The year before he had been a messenger for British leadership; his message ignored by French forces. Now he was to lead a force to drive out French troops from the area. His orders to ‘fire when fired upon.’ His actions would be an igniting event that would cause the seven Years War around the world: its North American portion known in American History as the French Indian War.
Mary Ball Washington’s prayers must have been heard as his heroic action was recognized and revered as twenty years later Washington was called upon by the newly formed Colonies to be their military leader.
The second of Mary’s prayers occurred as Washington was on his way to his own inauguration. In both instances we can assume she prayed for his safety, but this time I’m sure wisdom was pleaded for, and for God to work through her son to create a nation that would serve and be blessed by our great Creator. Washington obviously lived by his mothers example for after his swearing in ceremony he walked across the street to Church, were for four hours he kneeled before God and prayed for a covenant between God and the newly established United States of America.
It can be argued that God heard George’s prayer for in the next two hundred years technology, medicine, and quality of life changed, exponentially for the better, in a speed that history had never seen before.
George Washington was a man who lived by a code of honor and principles that we no longer see in today’s society. He laid the formation of his character solely at the feet of his mother, stating in his personal writings:
My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from Her.
Clearly the influence of a mother has wide reaching affects. As without the influence of Mary Ball Washington, and many like her, America may not have been established in the biblical gift of Liberty.
Faith was a main stay in the Washington home, to understand more about a faith that created this nation I highly recommend The Founders’ Bible: The Origin of the Dream of Freedom.
Mother’s Blessing of George Washington
8 x 10 fine art print by Dale Glasgow, © 2012.