Since 1953, hundreds of religious leaders, politicians, and dignitaries from around the world have gathered in Washington D.C. for the National Prayer Breakfast. Established during the President Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, this multi-faith event is an opportunity for politicians to unite around their shared values and move toward healing some of the deep divisions in the United States.
This year’s prayer breakfast was no exception: More than 3,500 guests from 150 countries and all 50 states came together to hear remarks from President Donald Trump, a rousing message from International Justice Mission President Gary Haugen, worship from CCM artist Chris Tomlin, and more.
In case you missed it, here are five notable events that took place during this year’s National Prayer Breakfast.
Chris Tomlin led a room full of politicians in worship.
Grammy Award-winning CCM artist Chris Tomlin led worship at the annual breakfast and sang several of his chart-topping hits, including “Whom Shall I Fear” and “God of Angel Armies.”
Following a powerful message from Gary Haugen, the CEO and founder of the International Justice Mission, which highlighted the horrors of modern-day slavery, Tomlin sang “Amazing Grace,” a hymn originally penned by John Newton, former slave ship master.
“It’s amazing that this song was written from a once slave trader and is probably the most beloved song in all the world,” Tomlin said. “John Newton said God saved him in a dramatic way, and he wanted to spend the rest of his life preaching the good news and the freedom of God.”
A Christian doctor who fought Ebola and ISIS issued a powerful call for unity.
Dr. Lance Plyler of the Samaritan’s Purse evangelical Christian organization argued that, regardless of skin color, language, religion or country of residence, “We are all equal in the eyes of God” and “all neighbors.”
He reflected on the horrors he witnessed as a doctor fighting the Ebola crisis in West Africa, adding: “Who is our neighbor? I propose that the people of West Africa are our neighbors.”
Plyler went on to highlight the plight of those terrorized by Islamic extremism in the Middle East: “We worked incessantly, day and night, to save the victims of ISIS. I remember so many people horribly traumatized by this war,” he said, recalling how he had to amputate the legs of one 4-year-old girl.
“The people of Iraq are our neighbors,” he declared.
“Helping our neighbor is a vital expression of ambassadors of Jesus … it’s imperative that we help our neighbor,” he said. “As a follower of Jesus, as a physician and a humanitarian, I appeal to you, I implore you, to continue to permit us to travel the world to our fallen neighbors, to the people in need to provide medical care.”
The bishop who preached on Jesus’ sacrificial love at the royal wedding reminded politicians of Jesus’ greatest commandment.
Michael Curry, presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church, read from 1st Corinthians 13 and pointed out that the Bible offers two commandments: Love God and love one another.
“That way of love can set us all free, and it can lift us up,” he said. “If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe the old slaves of the antebellum South. They used to say, ‘If you cannot preach like Peter, if you cannot pray like Paul, You can tell the love of Jesus and say, He died for all. There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole; There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.”
Curry also presided over the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle in May 2018. During the ceremony, he delivered a rousing sermon about the power of love.
“Love is the only way,” he said at the time. “There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved. Well, there’s power, power in love, not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett