Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 2: Election Prayer Focus New Hampshire

On Day 2 we will focus our prayers on the state of New Hampshire, the Granite State.

New Hampshire's Leaders
Governor John Lynch
Senator Judd Gregg, Republican
Senator John E. Sununu, Republican
Rep. Paul Hodes, Democrat
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Capital City: Concord
Largest City: Manchester

Atlantic Coastline - 13 miles

Home of the New Hampshire primary, which according to state law must be the first primary held in the nation. In referring to the Iowa Caucus, John Sununu said, "The people of Iowa pick corn, but the people of New Hampshire pick Presidents."

Prayer Points
* Leaders of New Hampshire
* For the people of New Hampshire to vote, especially Christians
* For an accurate counting of the vote
* For the protection and safety of the people of New Hampshire
* For the protection and safety of the New Hampshire National Guard and military personnel
* For revival in the state of New Hampshire.
* For strategies for those in ministry to reach the lost.
* For Christian media to expand in the state.

Unusual laws on the books in the Granite State.
You may not tap your feet, nod your head, or in any way keep time to the music in a tavern, restaurant, or cafe.
You cannot sell the clothes you are wearing to pay off a gambling debt.
It is considered an offense to check into a hotel under an assumed name. (source)
It is illegal to pick seaweed up off of the beach. (source)
Any cattle that crosses state roads must be fitted with a device to gather its feces.
You may not run machinery on Sundays.
On Sundays citizens may not relieve themselves while looking up.
In the White Mountain National Forest, if a person is caught raking the beaches, picking up litter, hauling away trash, building a bench for the park, or any similar activity without a permit, he/she may be fined $150 for ''maintaining the national forest without a permit''.
Things people can keep when filing for bankruptcy include one cook stove, one wood stove, one sewing machine, private militia uniforms and arms, Bibles, one hog and one pig, six sheep and the fleeces of the same, one cow, one yoke of oxen, and one church pew. (source)

NH Fast Day
The unique and quirky New Hampshire holiday called Fast Day no longer legally exists. In 1991 the New Hampshire legislature abolished Fast Day in favor of creating a new holiday, Civil Rights Day (Chapter 206, Laws of 1991). The legislature, quite properly, wanted to honor civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King, but it was "...not the intent of the general court ... to create an additional paid holiday for state employees." Therefore the archaic Fast Day was abolished.
Fast days were a common occurrence in the early days of the colonies. These were days of public humiliation, fasting and prayer proclaimed by the royal governors of the colonies to avert or repent for calamities such as plagues, earthquakes, crop failures, etc. Fast days were generally held before the spring planting, and a thanksgiving day was held after the harvest. Fast days were celebrated with a sermon, abstinence from secular pursuits, and at least partial abstinence from eating. Cotton Mather wrote "We may not eat or drink so much, nor may we eat or drink so well, on such a day, as at another time."
The earliest known fast day proclamation was in Boston on September 8, 1670. New Hampshire's first recorded proclamation of a fast day was in early 1680. The President and Council of the Province of New Hampshire issued a document in February 1680 that called for a meeting of the General Assembly for March 16th. They appointed February 26th as a "day of humiliation" to ask God to "bless us with peace & prosperitie", favor the upcoming meeting and to "favor spring & seede time". People were cautioned to abstain from work and attend church (Provincial Papers of New Hampshire, vol. XIX).
John Cutt, President of the Council that declared this day of humiliation, became the reason for a day of "public fasting and prayer." Cutt was born in England in 1613, emigrated to the colonies in 1646, and became a prosperous merchant in Portsmouth. On January 1, 1680 New Hampshire, previously under the wing of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, became a royal colony with a separate government. This government consisted of an appointed council of 9 men with a president (John Cutt), and an assembly of representatives from the towns. However, the elderly Cutt fell ill, and on March 1, 1681 the Council and General Assembly designated the 17th of March 1681 "A day of public fasting and prayer." They felt that Cutt's illness and the recent sighting of a comet were signs of "divine displeasure." The day of fasting and prayer was unsuccessful and John Cutt died on April 1, 1681.
Despite this lack of success, the colonists continued to observe fast days on a regular basis. However, by the late 1800s, the observance of a fast day had lost much of its original religious meaning. There was therefore a push by most state legislatures to abolish this holiday. In 1894 Massachusetts abolished Fast Day and substituted Patriot's Day. Maine soon followed suit. In 1897, Governor Ramsdell of New Hampshire urged the legislature, who annually proclaimed a Fast Day on various dates, to totally abolish the holiday. Instead the legislature passed an act in 1899 making Fast Day a legal holiday (Chapter 11, Laws of 1899). The date was flexible.
It became the custom for the governor to designate the last Thursday in April as Fast Day. This continued until 1949 when the legislature established Fast Day as the 4th Monday in April (Chapter 270, Laws of 1949). New Hampshire continued as the sole state to have Fast Day as a legal holiday until 1991, when Fast Day fell to the new Civil Rights Day.
— Gilbreth, Donna."Rise and Fall of Fast Day". New Hampshire State Library. 1997

1 comment:

Stacey said...

I'm praying & learning all at the same time! I couldn't help but chuckle at the unusual laws! Hee!hee! Sounds like some things need updated!

Thank you for all of your research and for the making this so easy for all of us! You have done the supplicating and all we have to do is position ourselves and pray!