Annual national prayer breakfast

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 12, 2015

Each year, the National Prayer Breakfast is one of the most memorable events in our nation’s capital. Drawing thousands of people from across the country and all over the world, it is a moment for giving thanks and celebrating God’s glory in our lives.
On February 5, I had the honor of serving as co-chairman of this year’s National Prayer Breakfast. I presided with my colleague Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who has served with me over the past two years as co-chairman of the Senate Prayer Breakfast.
The National Prayer Breakfast is an extension of the prayer breakfasts that meet each week in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Like these smaller gatherings, it encourages people of different backgrounds, political ideologies, and faith traditions to come together in the spirit of religious fellowship.
I was pleased to welcome several Mississippians to take part, including Miss Mississippi Jasmine Murray, who performed “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” The popular Lane Chapel Quintet from Tupelo was also on hand to provide entertainment at one of the widely attended National Prayer Breakfast dinners.
Darrell Waltrip Offers Keynote Address
More than 3,600 people gathered for the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast, including the President, who participates every year. Every U.S. president, in fact, has attended the event since the breakfast began in 1953. The program of hymns, prayers, and Scripture readings also includes a keynote address from a guest speaker.
This year’s keynote was delivered by legendary NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip, who spoke from the heart about his own journey of faith and the constant spiritual encouragement of his wife, Stevie. Although he joked he was not running for political office, he said, “I am running to something. The Lord is a strong tower. The righteous will run to it and be safe.”
Ebola Survivor Prays for World Leaders
In many ways, the National Prayer Breakfast underscores this message, calling on God to watch over all of his children. In his prayer for world leaders, Dr. Kent Brantly, one of the Ebola fighters who survived the disease, offered these words: “Bless the leaders of the nations, Father, that they might act justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with you.”
Such blessings are certainly needed in times of great challenge.
Today’s airwaves are dominated by news reports of terrorists committing violent acts and persecuting religious minorities for what they believe. The outpouring of goodwill and tolerance at the National Prayer Breakfast reaffirms the solidarity of faith that exists in the face of great evil.
The United States has always stood for religious liberty and should continue to do so, particularly in light of recent events in Europe and the Middle East.
We are blessed to live in a country that upholds every citizen’s freedom to pray and worship as he or she chooses. Events like the National Prayer Breakfast would not be possible in many parts of the world. I am thankful for my experience in helping plan this year’s inspirational event.
As Scripture says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

By Senator Roger Wicker

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