In 1953 prayer groups in both the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives met together for prayer and breakfast. Over the years this one morning of prayer was expanded and now over 3,000 people from 140 nations gather on the first Thursday in February for not only a breakfast and prayer but also an entire day of fellowship, to strengthen the moral and spiritual fabric of our nation.
Last month, my wife Kate and I joined President Obama, and numerous members of Congress, 3,000 people in total, for the 61st National Prayer Breakfast. It was a memorable day.
It all started back one hot, humid day in August. The roof on our church was being replaced and I was high in the steeple meeting with the foreman of the roofing company. The view out over Joppa Flats was stunning that day. I could see a couple walking up Federal Street, looking at the church. I had a hunch they wanted to come inside for a closer look.
Sure enough, when I descended the steps of the steeple, they were waiting outside the door. They were visiting from Virginia and asked if I would show them around. They were very well read in the history of our church and especially of the Rev. George Whitefield, who is buried in the basement of our church.
As the moments went on he mentioned he served in the House of Representatives. He later asked if I had ever attended the National Prayer Breakfast. I replied I had not, noting, “I think it is by invitation only.” He nodded, and said, “Yes, you must be invited. I would love to have you join me in February.”
Christmas came and went. I had all but forgotten about the representative’s visit that warm August morning. The second week of January, a letter came from the Capitol office building. It was my invitation, complete with the gold Presidential seal!