I had the wonderful privilege to participate in the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast during the first week of February. I have decided to write about this event on Presidents Day, an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.
Today, I celebrate the leadership of the presidents of the United States of America and am reminded of the biblical encouragement “…that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-3 NIV).”
The National Prayer Breakfast, however, is hosted by members of the U.S. Congress as a non-partisan, non-political effort to gather under the name of Jesus of Nazareth to pray for our leadership in Congress and the President. The roots of this vision for national prayer originated in April of 1935 when 19 business executives in Seattle, Washington met to face a critical situation in the life of their city. Looking for ways to deal with the tensions of public life, they turned to the 2,000-year old story of Jesus of Nazareth at a meal… to gather, eat together, fellowship together, and pray together. Over the years groups like this sprang up throughout the state of Washington, southward to San Francisco, eastward to Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston and then in 1942 in Washington, DC. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president invited to the prayer breakfast hosted by Congress.
Thanks to the leadership and vision of Dr. Ken Hall, my predecessor and 5th President and CEO of Buckner International, Buckner staff, friends of Buckner and guests have enjoyed the privilege of being included and invited to this national event each year. This week I will share a few vignettes from my visit to the National Prayer Breakfast and relate these experiences to our ministry at Buckner.
Remember to pray for our national leaders on this Presidents Day.