Congressional Prayer Caucusby Senator James Lankford
Posted on 2013-02-04
LANKFORD. It is my pleasure to be here. Thank you.
The National Prayer Breakfast coming up this week is a great reminder to us as a Nation just to be able to slow down, not as Republicans and Democrats, but as Americans, to be able to come together and do what we always do: to pray. It's what we've done from the very beginning. We are a people of prayer.
[[Page H331]] I enjoy getting a chance to tell people at home in Oklahoma about how Members of Congress get together to be able to pray in the Prayer Caucus time. We gather privately just to be able to sit down and pray. The House and the Senate both open every day in prayer.
Sitting on the platform of the inauguration just a few weeks ago, President Obama asked two different individuals to pray during that ceremony time. It should put to rest forever the debate whether we have prayer in public places when you see it in the House, in the Senate, in the executive branch, prayers repeated over and over again, and have from the very beginning.
We have our national optimism because we believe that this world and this Nation, they were created with a purpose, and that the Creator cares for His creation. From our founding documents, we believe that all people are created equal and are given certain rights from God, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We're different as America because we believe that our rights come from God, not from men, and our core values come from something greater than ourselves.
For many Americans, prayer is just a normal part of their day. It's like breathing in and out for them. As they go through the course of the day, they pray. That's no different for our many elected leaders, as well. We don't walk away from God because we're elected. We challenge our fellow Americans to do the same. We need His wisdom. We need His love. And it is in the moment when we are most arrogant and think that we meet our own needs that we forget to pray. But it's in the moment when we are needy as a Nation, as we are right now, we remember to pray.
At 8 years old, I remember extremely well sitting in church up in the balcony of our big church and realizing for the first time in my life there is a God and I don't know him. I spent the rest of that day thinking and processing through what it means to know God. As an 8- year-old boy, I laid in bed that night and I prayed to Jesus for the first time in my life that I would be forgiven of my sin, and I began a relationship with this God who made me. It was my first prayer, but it's definitely not been my last.
As a Nation, we understand how it begins, as well. If you walk out in the rotunda here in the Capitol, you'll see a huge painting hanging in the rotunda that's called the ``Embarkation of the Pilgrims.'' It was a painting done and hung in the rotunda in 1843, and it's supposed to depict the beginning of America. You know what the painting is of? The painting is of a group of Pilgrims gathered on the deck of a ship praying. It is the painting that is the beginning of America.
Last week at a town hall meeting in Konawa, Oklahoma, as they're gathered around to deal with a very difficult water issue in their town, do you know how they started their city council meeting? With a prayer. It's quite frankly the same way that I ended my day last night before I headed to Washington, D.C., kneeling beside my daughter's bed to pray. It's what we do as Americans. It's quite frankly when we're at our best. And it's a good thing for us as a Nation to slow down and remember, it's good to pray.
God bless our Nation this week as we do exactly that as a nation in this National Day of Prayer: to pray.