Jacob Duche' (1738-1798), was the Anglican clergyman, who, at the request of the Continental Congress, opened the first session of Congress with prayer. As recorded in the Journals of the Continental Congress, the first official act of Congress, having just received the news that British troops had attacked Boston, was to open in prayer:
"Tuesday, September 6, 1774. Resolved, That the Rev. Mr. Duche' be desired to open the Congress tomorrow morning with prayers, at the Carpenter's Hall, at 9 o'clock." - September 6, 1774. The Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1905), Vol. I, p. 26. David Barton, The Myth of Separation (Aledo, TX: WallBuilder Press, 1991), p. 100.
The 35th Psalm, the Psalter for the Seventh day of September, which was read by Rev. Mr. Duche' in the first Continental Congress, begins:
"Plead my cause, Oh, Lord, with them that strive with me, fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of buckler and shield, and rise up for my help. Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me; Say to my soul, 'I am your salvation.' Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life; Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me." - September 7, 1774, Rev. Mr. Duche' reading Psalm 35. "Our Christian Heritage," Letter from Plymouth Rock (Marlborough, NH: The Plymouth Rock Foundation), pp. 2-3. Catherine Millard, The Rewriting of America's History (Camp Hill, PA: Horizon House Publishers, 1991), p. 249.
Rev. Mr. Duche' in Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, proceeded extemporaneously to offer the First Prayer in Congress on September 7, 1774:
"Be Thou present O God of Wisdom and direct the counsel of this Honorable Assembly; enable them to settle all things on the best and surest foundations; that the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that Order, Harmony and Peace may be effectually restored, and that Truth and Justice, Religion and Piety, prevail and flourish among the people."
Preserve the health of their bodies, and the vigor of their minds, shower down on them, and the millions they here represent, such temporal Blessings as Thou seest expedient for them, in this world, and crown them with everlasting Glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and Saviour, Amen." - September 7, 1774, First Prayer in Congress - Beautiful Reminiscence (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress). Gary DeMar, God and Government - A Biblical and Historical Study (Atlanta, GA: American Vision Press, 1982), Vol. I, p. 108. John S. C. Abbot, George Washington (NY: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1875, 1917), p. 187. David Barton, The Myth of Separation (Aledo, TX: WallBuilder Press, 1991), pp. 101-102.
The Journals of Congress record Congress' appreciation to Rev. Mr. Duche':
"Wednesday, September 7, 1774, 9 o'clock a.m. Agreeable to the resolve of yesterday, the meeting was opened with prayers by the Rev. Mr. Duche'. Voted, That the thanks of Congress be given to Mr. Duche'... for performing divine Service, and for the excellent prayer, which he composed and delivered on the occasion." - September 7, 1774, The Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1905), Vol. I, p. 27. David Barton, The Myth of Separation (Aledo, TX: WallBuilder Press, 1991), p. 101.