National Prayer Breakfast in the United States: a pastor urges President Joe Biden to pray for wisdom


On the occasion of the National Prayer Breakfast, an event held each year in Washington DC, New York pastor Jim Cymbala called on US President Joe Biden and members of Congress to pray for the Lord to give them wisdom and to show humility in their way of governing. 

The National Prayer Breakfast, or national prayer breakfast in French, is an annual gathering of prayer for the attention of American political leaders, which takes place on the first Thursday of February. The Conversation indicates that this initiative was started in 1953 during the tenure of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

It took place yesterday, Thursday February 2 in Washington, DC, in a slightly different form than in previous years. Rather than taking place in a large hotel ballroom with guests from around the world, members of Congress, the president and a few guests gathered in an auditorium at the Capitol Visitor Center.

"That's what Congress wants, they want to take it back to where it started and in the beginning it was just Congress and the president," said former Arkansas senator Mark Pryor, now president. of the board of directors of the National Prayer Breakfast Foundation, in the columns of Religion News Service.

This traditional "prayer breakfast" is notably the occasion for a presidential speech centered on religion, and this year was no exception to the rule.

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, chose to evoke the religious diversity that one finds within the American Congress which reflects according to him, “the infinite creativity of God”.

“Loving our neighbor is also part of the essence of the American promise. A promise that comes with a new Congress that is more diverse and different,” he said, noting that never before has the Congress brought together so much diversity.

“More religions, more races, more diversity than ever before in our history. People of all faiths, people without faith. Gay, Straight, Immigrant, Native American. The differences express the infinite creativity of God, who is able to see his reflection in countless ways in different people. »

Jim Cymbala, pastor of a New York megachurch the Brooklyn Tabernacle, was among the speakers invited to speak at the event.

"Prayer of the Heart"

In his speech he urged the president and members of Congress to be humble and ask God to give them wisdom.

He spoke directly to elected officials: "You make decisions every day that have the most immense effect on the lives of others." "The Bible says this: 'If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously and will never reject anyone,'" he continued, quoting James 1:5.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all simply and without reproach, and it will be given to him. "

To applause from the audience, the pastor declared that prayer must be instituted in a new way in America. He called for "sincere prayer, the prayer of the heart". Referring to Genesis 4, he recalled that at that time people simply called on "the name of the Lord", without worrying about denomination.

“So the first people that belonged to God were not Jews, Hebrews, they were not Christians. There were no priests, there were no preachers, there were no buildings, there was nothing. But God had a people and they were known for one thing: they turned to God and called on him. »

Besides Pastor Cymbala and the US President, other speakers took the floor like Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He for his part called on the leaders of the country to show mercy and love.

“There is enough power in this room to make that happen. What a powerful message it would be to the world if we walked together with compassion over callousness, cooperation over competition,” he said recalling that “love makes a difference in the way we see ourselves.” “God's love makes a difference in how we deal with suffering,” the Bishop concluded.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: Shutterstock / Trevor Bexon

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