Members of Congress — including several Southern Baptists — prayed one after another for America April 29 in the U.S. Capitol.
Twenty-one representatives joined others in petitioning God during “Washington A Man of Prayer,” a nearly two-hour service in honor of the 226th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington, the first U.S. president. The Wednesday evening event was held in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, the House of Representatives’ chamber from 1850-57 and the site of Christian worship services for much of the 19th century.
Two Southern Baptists — Sen. James Lankford, R.-Okla., and Rep. Randy Forbes, R.-Va. — served as honorary hosts of the event.
Lankford encouraged the audience in the Capitol and those watching by television and livestreaming to apply one of Washington’s principles: “[M]ake sure that we pray more than we complain.”
“We get in the habit of griping about what’s happening in government,” he said. “We get in the habit of complaining about what’s happening in the nation and in the culture. We should be in the habit of praying more than we complain.”
Senate Chaplain Barry Black told the gathering of about 150 in Statuary Hall his mother “made prayer as natural as breathing. I think that’s what Washington learned.”
Prayer should be “natural as breathing” because prayer “connects us to the wisdom of God” and “the power of God,” Black said. Also, “it is prayer that will bring healing to our land,” he said.
Listening to the prayers of the members of Congress — “saints in Caesar’s household,” as he called them — made him think God is up to something, Black said.
“[I]t’s not too late for God to stand up on His throne and move in behalf of this great nation so we can again be a shining city upon a hill,” he said.
The House members, joined by two guests, lined up in two groups to pray. Southern Baptists who prayed were Reps. Jeff Duncan, R.-S.C.; Bill Flores, R.-Texas; Gregg Harper, R.-Miss.; Jody Hice, R.-Ga.; Steve Pearce, R.-N.M.; Mark Walker, R.-N.C.; and Randy Weber, R.-Texas.
Before praying, Flores described the United States as “truly a troubled nation. Think about the ridicule of the traditional family, of a man and a woman joined together in a sacred bond of marriage. Think about the ridicule of people for their Christian beliefs and for the persecution of Christians around the world.”
In his prayer, he asked God to “give us the wisdom and protection that we need to stand up for everyone in this country.”
Hice prayed for the persecuted, saying, “[T]onight we look in our own nation, as well as around the world, and there are indeed people who are suffering persecution for your name’s sake. And we pray, oh God, for Your kingdom to come, for Your will to be done right here on earth as it is in heaven. Lord, let us stand strong. Let us stand firmly.”
Suzan Johnson Cook, who served as the State Department’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom from 2011-13, prayed for Baltimore residents affected by civil unrest.
She prayed “that we might be a just people, a righteous people, that you will forgive us of our sins and allow us to seek Your face. Bless all those this night — parents and children in Baltimore and all throughout this land — who are suffering, crying out.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press