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As our nation’s Founders designed their plan for a more perfect union, they understood that the success of a modern republic would require more than a political document like the Constitution. From their study of history, the Founders had learned of the pitfalls of republics before this one. They concluded that even the Constitution alone could not curb individual selfishness. They believed that virtues were necessary for sustaining the American experiment. Their fervent prayers were an integral part of the birth of our nation.

This Week in History

December 10, 1950 – Dr. Ralph Bunche Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Dr. Ralph Bunche became the first African-American man awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, given for his efforts in mediation between Israel and nearby Arab states the previous year.

Bunche was reared by his grandmother in Los Angeles after his parents died when he was a child. He contributed to the family’s had-pressed finances selling newspapers, serving as a house boy for a movie actor, working as a carpet layer, and doing what odd jobs he could find. His intellectual brilliance appeared early in school, where he won numerous prizes, while competing as an all-around athlete. He won an athletic scholarship to UCLA, from which he graduated with a degree in international relations.

A scholarship took him to Harvard University and later to Northwestern University, the London School of Economics, and Capetown University in South Africa. He went on to land a job at the U.S. State Department in charge of the Department of Trusteeship of the UN.

His most important career assignment came when he was appointed as assistant to the UN Special Committee on Palestine, charged with carrying out the partition approved by the UN General Assembly in 1948 which created Israel as a nation. After eleven months of virtually ceaseless negotiating, Bunch obtained signatures on an armistice agreement between Israel and its neighboring Arab States. It was for those efforts, that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Signer of the Declaration of Independence

    PresidentialQouteWilliam Ellery, Signer of the Declaration of Independence for Rhode Island


    William Ellery was born in December 1727 in Newport, Rhode Island. He received his early education from his father, a merchant and Harvard College graduate. At age 20, Ellery graduated from Harvard College where he excelled in Greek and Latin. He returned to Newport where he worked first as a merchant, next as a customs collector, and then as Clerk of the Rhode Island General Assembly. Ellery started practicing law at the age of 43 and became active in the Rhode Island Sons of Liberty.

    Ellery was a delegate to the Continental Congress and was among the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. His signature is second only in size to that of John Hancock. He was also a signer of the Articles of Confederation.

    Ellery served as a judge of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. He was an abolitionist and an active worshipper at the Second Congregational Church of Newport.

    He was married twice, first to Ann Remington of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later to Abigail Cary. He had 19 children. He died in 1820 at the age of 92, and is buried in the Common Burial Ground of Newport.