tv Pres. Biden at National Prayer Breakfast CSPAN February 2, 2023 8:02pm-9:19pm EST
ago. >> ask not what your country can do for you. >> throughout our nation's, president's have delivered pivotal speeches. saturday, watch the first of our 10 part series, speeches that define the protestant see. here from abraham lincoln, jfk, george w. bush, and barack obama. this is read in the tradition of the senate. >> a uniform sacrifice of nations. for me, a predominant motive has been to endeavor to give time to our country to settle and make sure the yet recent institutions. >> watch speeches that define the presidency, saturday on
>> good morning. i'm lucy mcbath from georgia's seventh congressional district, and coach of the national prayer breakfast. [applause] >> and i am loose these brother. [laughing] cochair of the national prayer breakfast as well as the thursday bipartisan house prayer breakfast. you are all invited. [applause] >> i'm a democrat. >> i'm a republican. >> i was born in illinois and raise on chicago's south side. >> i was born and raised on chicago's south side. >> we both love our harleys. [laughing] [applause]
>> man, does she look good on that harley. and we are great friends. >> through gods of reconciling work in both of our lives, we each have been blessed with a purpose greater than just being members of congress. so many of you know my story of the journey that it took to washington, of how i turned paying into progress through my work to prevent gun violence. i have frequently been asked how i could continue to do this work in the face of these senseless tragedy that touched my life. tragedy that continues to devastate families all across america. my answer is simple. i have faith. i have faith in the institution that we are humble to serve in, and the tools of the government that we are empowered to wield,
and a power that we have as a people to make change in our world, to make our future better, brighter, and stronger. and i have faith that our unity this morning can extend beyond the stores, and shape the work that we have ahead of us. >> and that's been the foundation of all of our planning that we've undertaken for the past number of months. this is a prayer breakfast that will have impact. lucy and i stood just three, four weeks ago and emancipation hall under the emancipation hall with the tour is all about and ensure they wondered what we were doing. we were praying. we were praying for this day comes that this day would be a day that would begin unique and
powerful reconciliation. in our lives, first of all, in your lives, in the lives of this country. a day of reconciliation to god, first of all, and then to each other. >> that's our prayer, and the purpose of the 71st national prayer breakfast, so let's get on with it. >> why not? you heard the wonderful sounds of a choir this morning, the brooklyn tabernacle choir has recorded 40 albums under the direction of carol who had an accident last week and is it with us today. we pray for her. they have one, seven doubled awards and six grammy awards. carnegie hall, radio city music hall and the madison square garden musical theater. the choir sang at the two until presidential inauguration. their music has touched people around the world with the unchanging message of gods good news and its power to change
lives. but since the choir numbers around 300 members, it was either you or them. [laughing] understand why today we have the brooklyn tabernacle singers, a a core group of vocal assisting all the music of the choir travel quickly to international domestic venues and most importantly to the 71st national prayer breakfast, please welcome the brooklyn tabernacle singers. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
mercy, it's all that i can see ♪ ♪ though in my heart i have questioned even failed to believe, but he's been faithful, so faithful ♪ ♪ in my heart i have questioned. i have even failed to believed, but he's been faithful, so faithful ♪ ♪ in my heart i have questioned. i have even failed to believe,
but he's faithful, faithful to me ♪ ♪ oh, god, you have always been faithful even when i failed ♪ ♪ faithful, faithful to me ♪ [applause] >> let us pray. >> heavenly father, as we begin to forge the path that you set before us, to govern your people for the 118th congress, we are in desperate need of your
all-consuming love. >> god, our heavenly father, thank you for your reconciling love demonstrated so perfectly in the spirit of jesus. may we know the strength and peace that comes from your gracious approval of our faithful attention to your plan and principles. >> these are times when we are in need of desperate faith. your word urges us as the elected leaders of this nation to serve your people and all manner that benefits the fullness and breadth of your work. >> by prayer today is that the spirit of reconciliation, flowing from obedience to your ageless plan, may be found increasingly in my life, and
that of my dear congressional colleagues, i pray the same for president biden, vice president harris, and our congressional leadership. >> lord, have mercy upon us. help us to walk in humility, order our steps convicting the heart and man and all that we do and say. holy spirit, call to our remembrance continually our responsibility to love, accept, and forgive so that we do not lose sight of our responsibility to seek to govern as a unified body. and let us not be spiritually dead to the cries of gods people. lord, drop the skills scr eyes so we can be reconciled through you and love to one another, for america's greater good. >> we humbly pray, father,
leaving a long come full and divisive ways and experience healing, reconciliation in our government and our nation. let it begin in us right now. in jesus name we pray. >> amen. >> good morning. i represent the first district of kansas. the words of king david and psalm 133 133-one. how good and pleasant it is when god's people live together in unity. the words of jesus found in matthew five, 43 through 44 pick you heard it was said love your neighbor and hate your enemy but i tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute
you. in the words that paul wrote to the colossians, chapter three verses 12-15. therefore, as, as god's chosen people wholly and dirty love, clothes yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. forgive as the lord forgave you and for all these virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity. let the peace of christ rule in your hearts, since members as one body you were called to peace. and be thankful. >> thank you, tracy. be thankful. good way to end of that. i am thankful today with a very special guests joining us, not guests, family members, i guess
we would see joining us. so i would like to introduce them to you and i would encourage each of you to wait to applaud until we finish each group, or else the goodness of the speaker of the house to remove the time for session day from nine to 9:30 will be wasted. the house meets every thursday in the bipartisan prayer breakfast at 8:00 and i been privileged to be a culture of that but in a synod the meat on wednesdays and the have met for many, many years, 80 years or more, as has the house. i want to welcome with us today the synod bipartisan prayer breakfast cochairs senator kirsten gillibrand and senator mike rounds. please stand and be recognized. [applause] and we're delighted to have the secretary of education miguel
cardona here today. [applause] ambassador lute linda thomas-greenfield. [applause] and untold the administrator of nasa ormer senator bill nelson is here, but i am not seeing -- [applause] >> there you are. there you are. observing the principle of not going to the front seat waiting until you're called, right? [laughing] delighted to a former house majority leader steny hoyer and speaker of the house a to nancy pelosi. [applause] then the house leadership is here, delighted to have them join us today, house minority whip katherine clark, , house majority whip tom emmer, house minority leader hakeem jeffries,
house majority leader representative steve scalise, and evidence that prayer works as well, the speaker of the house, representative kevin mccarthy. please stand and be recognized. [applause] and then finally we are so delighted to have vice president of the united states kamala harris. [applause] >> we are honored to be joined by our nation's president. mr. president, last year you spoke at this very same breakfast about finding purpose through the pain of losing a piece of your soul. as you and i both recognize, the
birthdays of our late sons this month, i will remind you, as you have reminded me, that bow and jordan will always be with us. president biden, i know how important that your faith has been over the course of your career. how you pray to keep that faith and has your grandmother reminded you to spread it, too. as you spread that faith today, it is my privilege to welcome you back to the capital. mr. president, ladies and gentlemen, is welcome the president of the united states, president joe biden. [applause]
>> thank you, lucy. for that introduction. and i might add as i said last year, for your courage. you know, like many of you in the audience, lucy lost a piece of her soul, and, and you know, while the pain never fully leaves, you eventually find a purpose to carry on, and that's what you have done. you have done it magnificently. you were doing it with your service in the congress, and where a better nation because you kept the faith. and by the way, the reference -- [applause] reference to my grandma was every time i walked out of my grandfather house in scranton, he yelled joey, keep the faith. my grandmother would you know,
joey, spread it. spread it. you do a heck of a job. my god, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. [applause] i also want to thank the other leadership at the breakfast, representative tim walberg, senator kirsten gillibrand, mike reynolds. it's good to see. we used to sit together a lot in the past, a former senator mark pryor. and he and his dad and i also spent an awful lot of time together. i applaud your work to make the gathering to bring back to his roots, , but understand we got a bunch of folks at the hotel not far from here. how many? about 1300. apparently they're watching this. welcome. welcome to all 1300, and the house invite you to come to the floor today, , all 1300 of you. [laughing] i'm teasing you. sorry. but i'm grateful you're able to be joining us in prayer this
morning and lift up one another, and in our nation, in our nation. i want to thank vice president harris and speaker mccarthy and minority leader jeffreys, and also what you think speaker mckinzie and pastor, i don't know, i'm a little worried you got this whole choir here. i'll tell you what, i think you've got, i will go into that, anyway. but incredible, incredible brooklyn tabernacle singers, i tell you. st. augustine come by church, catholic church says singing is praying twice. i can only pray once because i couldn't carry a tune in a wheelbarrow. [laughing] my father when he was in high school, he didn't go to college, college years had a band and he could sing. he plays the saxophone and he could dance you can use to say me joey i don't know where you come from. he said you have no lip, you
can't play a reed instrument, number one. number two, you get two left feet. number three, you can't carry a tune in a wheelbarrow but i still love you. look, i've attended many prayer breakfasts over the years with the nation struggling in strife and also times of peace and prosperity. and i'm honored to continue the tradition. started by present eisenhower i'm told, that for presidents to come and speak to the prayer breakfast. just before christmas i offered a message to the country, a message that is at the heart of the question faith but yet is universal, universal message in hope, joy, of love whether you're christian, whether you're jewish, hindu, muslim, buddhist or any of the faith, or no faith at all. it speaks to all of us as human beings who are here on this earth, primarily to care for one another. look, look out for one another and to love one another. it's not always easy. it's hard but that's our
mission. the message is always important but especially important during tough times like what we've been through the last three, four, five years. the pandemic has taken so much from us from so many people. we have lost so much with one another. we lost so many people, over and they can live lost in america alone, 1 million lives lost and they say for everyone liked lost that are nine significant people who cared greatly about that lost person. we have seen record bouts of extreme weather claiming lives and destroying homes all across the country. i've taken more helicopter rides this last year and have been you can imagine, more timber burned down and west in the northwest and even in the southeast and southwest, and the entire state of missouri. there's just enormous damage. there's violence in our communities, mass shooting during the lunar new year at monterey park and half moon bay.
and tyree nichols and his family, community in memphis. justice is long overdue. look, in our politics in our lives we too often see each other as opponents and not competitors. we see each other as enemies, not neighbors. as tough as these times have been, if we look closer we see the strength, determination that as long to find america. look, you know, as a look to the new year my friend chris coons is out there, i see chris. how are you doing, powell? went to law school and got a different degree at the same time and he offers this was in. i thought it was incredible what you said, chris. he said let's continue the practice of the ministry of a presence, the ministry of presence. be present not just for yourself
but for one another. that's what's expected of those of us in public service, the ministry of presence. it means being there for one another. but you know, those in the greatest need who are looking to us, have elected us to help them, to really look at each other and not as democrats not as republicans but us who we really are, as fellow americans. fellow human beings worthy of being treated with dignity and respect. because when we are present in our lives, we find her so much more that unites us, in my view. so much more that unites us than divides us. while we have a profound differences the last two years, we have proven we can come together and do big things for the country. we can join hands and get things done. we can redeem the soul of america. what's the soul of the nation? the soul is the breath, the
life, the essence of who we are. the soul makes us us. it's embodied in the sacred proposition. we are all treated equally in the image of god. sacred proposition room in the scripture and tried in the declaration of independence. dr. king invoked when he told us about his dream for the nation, a dream i thought about deeply last month when i would've been dr. king's 94th birthday. senator warnock, reverend warnock invited me to speak at a sunday service at dr. king's ebenezer baptist church in atlanta and it was deeply humbling. had been in the church before but apparently no president had ever spoken and given a sermon. and in a sacred place when it was time to pray and contemplate dr. king's moral vision, a clear
path. he talked about the beloved community that still inspires as today. and here's what is art leary life and career along the path, as many of you have learned along the path you have taken. we are all imperfect all imperfect beings. we are fallible. we are frail. we fail. we don't know where and what fate will deliver us and when. we do know what we can have our best do, seek a life a little bit of light and hope, a a lie bit of love and truth. we know teaches us however dark the night, joey comes in the morning. and that joy when we apply the commandments of scripture. love the lord thy god with all thy heart, all by mind and all thy soul. and love thy neighbor as myself, that's the hardest one, i think.
it's the hardest year. didn't used to be as hard. i've been here a long time, but it seems to be getting harder. it's easy to say. it's hard to do. but in that commandment lies the essence of faith. loving our neighbor is also part of the essence of the american promise, a promise that comes with a new congress that is more diverse and more different and more brief legend, more races, more diversity than ever before in our history. people of all faiths, some people of no faith, gay, straight, emigrant, native american, differences, creativity of god who is able to see his reflection in countless ways, in different people. it's also an expression of the
american conviction that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. that's why jill and i've opened the white house to celebrations of faith in our nation's for easter, for the jewish high holidays, for the wally, and more that's america. that's who we are. let me close with a question dre years ago. where do we go from here? where do we go from here? my message to all of you into the nation is we go forward. we go forward together. let's be the doers of the world. let's keep the faith. let's remember who we are. we are the united states of america. the united states of america. we are born out of an idea. no other nation in the world was born of an idea.
based on ethnicity, geography and some other things. but the idea that we hold of these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, life, liberty, et cetera. there's nothing the on our capacity to remember who in god's name we are. we are the united states of america. my prayer for this prayer breakfast is we start to see each other again, look at each other again, travel with each other again, argue like hell with each other again but then still go to lunch together. you know, one of the interesting things when i first got to the synod, it was in the days when there were some very strong segregationists still in the synod from james of mississippi and strom thurmond, i could go down the list.
used to watch teddy kennedy and james argue like hell on the floor and then they go to the synod done with a sit down and eat together. they would eat together. i don't know how we do that anymore but we have to. we have to start treating each other in waste of them have in my humble opinion. the greatest honor of my life to serve this country. i know i don't look but i've done it for a few years. [laughing] a lot of good folks, not so good folks, great folks at a lot of folks better than me. let's just sort of kind of join hands again a little bit. let's start treating each other with respect. that's what kevin and i are going to do. not a joke. we had a good meeting yesterday. i think we've got to do it
across the board. doesn't mean were going to agree, we will fight like hell, but let's treat each other with respect. i bless you all and may god protect our troops. [applause] -- may god bless you all and may god protect our troops. [applause] [applause] [speaking spanish] >> good morning. i am congresswoman fernandez from new mexico's third congressional district. i will be reading from second corinthians chapter five verses
16-21. so from now on we regard no one from the worldly point of view,, the we once regarded christ in this way. we do so no longer. therefore if anyone is in christ, the new creation has come. the old one has gone. the new is here. all this is from god who reconciled us to himself through christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that god was reconciling the world to himself in christ, not counting people since against them. and he is committed to us the message of reconciliation. we are therefore christ's ambassadors, as though god were making his appeal through us.
we implore you on christ's behalf, be reconciled to god. god made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of god. word of the lord. >> at this time i am so humbled and truly proud to introduce our first keynote speaker, bishop murphy mackenzie. he has been breaking barriers for the lord her entire life. as a young student she helped integrate the segregated schools of her native baltimore. she was the first woman elected as the bishop of the african-american episcopal church.
and she has served as the general secretary of the national council of churches. she is a journalist, a world renowned pastor, and is the author of six books and the co-author of three kids and three grandkids. [laughing] please welcome my friend and the amazing bishop vashti murphy mckenzie. [applause] >> praise the lord. mr. president, madam vice president, members of congress, the extraordinary cochairs of the national prayer breakfast, good morning. speak, lord, for your servants are listening.
amen. our text this morning comes from loop, the tenth chapter. you can read through it in your own time of devotion, but i will just list to verses, 36 and 37. which of these do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? he said, the one who showed him mercy. jesus said to him, go and do likewise. beloved, in spite of what the world looks like what we may be going through, there are some moments when a part of us is drawn to live in created in tension with the impossibility the moment when the live our lives to see that god will grant us, our dream to come true. it promises will be kept and the hokey pokey is not what it is all about. there are moments of possibilities and promises of a hope yet unseen, moments of
expectation and longing and anticipation. that, not just something you but for things to get better. moments the knock on the doors, and this person knows, cheated by challenges of uncertain time, pricks the consciences of a culture, and a character crises moments tossed in twisted my life that can be so unkind. moments in the classroom of life where assignments are given, sometimes the assignment, as questions. why are you crying out to me? tell the people to move forward. or lord, how many times i give a brother or sister who sins against me? or, am i my brother's keeper? or if god is for us, who is against us? or who shall i send our who can go for us or can these bones live again? sometimes the assignment comes with a directive to go without knowing speed bumps slow us down or knocks at midnight that
awaken us to new realities, the challenges us to examine a valid use, a fork in the road with the choices we make will redefine destiny. our gospel were luke reeves a methodical and discipline story that shows of jesus as the confident teacher, preach of ethical wisdom and the purchase of compassion and forgiveness. and in chapter ten, an expert in the law rises to ask the question. teacher, what do i need to do to get eternal life? and jesus doesn't give an answer. answer. he asks a question. what is written if the law? and the student response, it is loving god with everything you got and love your neighbor as yourself. good, you passed the test. now apply the answer you knew all along and you will live. and so the law expert comes back and says well, can you elaborate a little bit more on the concept of neighbor? jesus, the consummate educator,
a spontaneous story becomes a teachable moment, where the listener can find themselves and reach a conclusion on a lesson from the story that is told. and teachers know that good storytelling like good is compelling has the power to rearrange priorities and purposes. so anyone who is passed through sunday school 101 may have heard the story, which is more about how to be a neighbor than who he is my neighbor. so as the story goes it was a man beaten on the road, and left on the side of the road and there were no witnesses, there were no security cameras to catch the moment but there were plenty of foot traffic that day. everybody passed by. nobody stopped. no one called 911. there was no description of the perpetrators to put out an apb. in fact, the ones you'd expect to stop the priest and the levite didn't.
and the one point every excuse not to stop, the samaritan, dead. so a samaritan asset the cultural norms of the day to stop or someone outside the circle of concern. he went beyond the initial crisis intervention using his own resources, secured the man's safety, paid for his housing, promised to back and did come to be sure that the restoration was complete. here was a man who demonstrates for us what love looks like in the public square. the way he moves, the way he demonstrates mercy looks a lot like the examples the apostle paul writes, love is patient, love is kind, love doesn't seek its own, love doesn't give a score, love is not pumped up, love is not all things. we see man was kind enough to stop, endangering his own life. he's patient, maybe understanding that healing takes time. he's that keeping a scorecard. is this man a member of my
family, my community, my tribe? he is not -- there's a record. he does that exist on his own goes out of his way to meet this need. this kind of love whitby on all his own self interest, before was too late. he didn't stop because of any race or ethnic category. he didn't stop because of any particular cultural distinction. he stopped because the man was human. could it be that he saw the man's humanity? and when he saw the man's humanity he saw his own. maybe we need to see our own humanity and see the humanity of others. maybe the one sitting next to you right now. could it be that jesus knew it would be hard to demonstrate this kind of love until we identified ourselves as neighbor? it helps us to go from passive listening to active engagement.
love your neighbor, neighbors humanity, as you love your own humanity. and after the story jesus says go and do likewise. this doesn't mean we ignore safeguarding life, liberty and human dignity. it means we're willing to do the heavy lifting to demonstrate love in the public square. what would happen in this 21st century if we did just that? go and do likewise. what if we would step over guardrails to the example of public love to people traumatized beside the road? what would happen if we would undertake the tough task to demonstrate restorative love in real tangible ways in our classrooms, in our assigned classrooms? with your classroom as education or business or commerce or technology or science, or even politics. the gospel is replete with a jesus who looks beyond the barriers that explode an ever
widening the circle of concern. look for yourselves, it's in the book. jesus did with the senate and guess what, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of god. [applause] jesus started with a leper, stood with the marginalized come stood, looked over, picked on to usher in those created in the image of god. and at the end of jesus going to likewise. we can spend a whole lives mad at the wedding of security along the road between jerusalem and jericho. we could get hostile that purpose it is of the best house or to pass by on the upside of the road. we could stay mad because no one caught the perpetrator. we could get all riled up that it is in the man's fault of his own fault. we can get angry at a team agreed that didn't create safe spaces for connection between neighbors or we can use our anger wisely.
preacher, let me tell you how so. productive anger heels and sin not. reparative anger restores. before we go out there, we must find a way to demonstrate the same kind of care and compassion where you are, and your home, in your business, in school. a faith that refuses to pass by on the other side of the road but will see, stop and go beyond initial crisis intervention to be sure restoration is complete. before you go out there it will be hard to demonstrate public life of public love without private commitment. it's hard to extend extra love when you have done the hard work on the inside of your heart. before we go out of their we most find common ground.
one persons idea can bring relief to the most vulnerable among us. when persons courage and dispel fear, just as one voice, fish sam's that a multitude of one woman sitting down on a bus in montgomery ignited a movement. praise god for the one that can do something to bring about positive change. if i was in church on tell you to turn to your neighbor and say but, but. one can do much alone but we can do more when we are united in vision and invoice. this man in the story stepped over cultural religious and society guardrails to meet a need here what would happen if we do the same? all of us have had beside the road experiences. yes, we have. and i still thank god for the samaritan stopped to help me. maybe somebody stopped for you. maybe they didn't.
but that doesn't exempt us, you, me, we, they, us and the day from love it in the public square showing mercy, being honest, being presented for helping someone else get there. we don't have to be perfect but we must show up. [applause] as my ancestors saying in my faith tradition long ago, let's walk together children and not get weary, the bible declares let us not be wary and welding for we shall reap if we say not. let's find new ways to go and do likewise your new ways to pull our resources, change negative narratives, amplify collective wisdom, and see each other get as treasures and not a threat. there is enough power in this room to make it happen. what a powerful message it would be to the world if we walked
together, but compassion over callousness, operation over competition. and at the end of it go and do likewise. before you go out there, it will be hard to go and do likewise under your own power. the hebrew writer says to us let us go with confidence, draw near to the pro problem of gracee may find mercy and grace in time of hell. here's your invitation to come in, and when you pray, praise and mercy is waiting for you. nothing else will help you stand and the face of traumatic situation. nothing else will help you survive heartbreaking and breaking, draw near. nothing else will help you your god is waiting for you. god wants you to experience god in different ways and how you have experienced god before. god wants more of you and more
for you than you can imagine. god want you not just you know when but to experience the divine power that empowers priorities and purpose. god wants to show you what it looks like for god to step in so you can step in the gaps for somebody else. god wants to fill in the empty blanks for you, what it looks like for god to bring you from the outside to the inside from the margins to center stage. god wants you to see what it looks like when you put your enemies under his feet. don't you want to hear what god has to say to you and for you and to give you? and at the end of it, jesus said, go and do likewise. so what does love have to do with it? everything. absolutely everything. god makes, love makes a
difference in how we see ourselves, created in in thee of god. god love makes a difference in how we deal with suffering. god will take dash and give you a garment of praise. god love makes a difference in how you handle your midnight, weeping may endure for a night but check with your secretary, julie has an early-morning appointment with you. god love makes a difference in how we handle the impossible -- joy -- nothing is impossible with god. at the end of it, jesus says go and do likewise. [applause]
speaker, pastor jim, as a record setting basketball player at the u.s. naval academy and university of rhode island and pastor of the famed brooklyn tabernacle with sunday attendance more than 10,000 and church plans all over the world. and this is a man humble to god, a man who leads people to meet the wall street stockbroker, the drug pusher, the titan of business, the prostitute, the city bus driver, the e.r. nurse, the homeless alcoholic where they are in the spirit of jesus. thousands of visitors come through the doors of the church each year to witness how god can reconcile people of all races and backgrounds in his love, the success of the brooklyn tabernacle comes from more than anything else, its all encompassing commitment to
prayer. jim has stated this and you can't take it back. he said, i quote, i have seen god do more in people's lives during 10 minutes of real prayer than 10 of my sermons well, you're going to get one of his sermons today and what better messenger than could we hear from at this 71st national prayer breakfast. pastor. >> (applause) >> thank you very much. with an introduction like that, i can't even wait to hear what i'm going to say. [laughter] >> on just a personal note, if you'd be so kind. my wife and i began in downtown brooklyn decades ago with less than 20 people in a rundown church building and she's been
such a faithful worker, leader, she's so gifted. she's never been trained musically. she still can't read or write music and yet, she's won all of these grammy awards and just two days before today she had an accident walking of all things in downtown brooklyn where we live, and she pulled a hamstring and laid up and she's the one responsible for the music and written the songs you just heard. i know she's watching, could we give her a little -- [applause] >> so, i just want to leave you here before there's a final prayer with a couple of thoughts. on this national prayer breakfast day, it would be good to think about when religion began. maybe a lot of you don't know
when religion began. the bible says in genesis 4 that a certain man by the name of seth gave birth to enos and out of nowhere the verse says, men, including women, men and women began to call on the name of the lord. why? we don't know. some instinct kicked in that god was not just creator, not only had the power to put the universe in place, but he was personal enough that you could talk to him, you could bring your problems to him. and there would be a response. this was more important than the discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel, the splitting of the atom. men for the first time, men and women, man to look up to god. maybe their child got sick, a heartache or crops failed.
some instinct hit them. we're not alone. we can talk to the one who put us here. and that changed everything. in fact, that's when religion began. the word in the hebrew to call is used throughout the bible and it means basically this, men and women began to cry out, to call upon for assistance, to implore, to reach out for help in a time of trouble, that's when religion began. there were no hebrews. there were no christians. there were no churches. there were no bibles, there was nothing, but religion began when people began to ie pray. the classical hebrew definition of the word is to enunciate a need with the he can expectancy that there's going to be a response. not just going through the positions the same old-same old mechanical relation. no, it wasn't like that.
people began to humble themselves and they had faith, those were the two factors together. humility to express, i can't make it without you god and then the faith, well, there is a god who can at the point me and that's how religion began. a lot happened after that, but that was that very essence of religion and the bible tells us that this religion that began then was the expression of god's desire to help people. he loves us all. but he's laid down this principle, ask and you will receive, seek and you'll find. knock, it will be open. now, did everyone call upon god? no, that was the unfortunate part. a lot of the world was full of pride and had no faith that this god would really help or was concerned. so, the world became divided between those who called on god
and those who just would not call on god. i'm not calling on god. i don't need god. take your stuff away from me, i can deal with this myself. so, the first people that belonged to god were not jews, hebrews, they were not christians, there were no priests, there were no preachers, there were no buildings, there was nothing, but god had a people and they were known for just one thing, they looked to god and called upon him in this primitive child-like fashion. it turps out as we read through the bible we learn more. we learned that this is what god delighted in. god because he loves us delights in his children coming to him and saying, i need help and i trust you, and i know you're going to help me. this is delights god, like our children, our grandchildren. they say help me papa, help me, i need assistance. that doesn't put a burden on
you, you're delighted to do it and that's the way god is. so god gives verses to encourage this act. in fact, it says in the old testament, call upon me in the day of trouble and i will answer you. here is god inviting us, all of us in this room, all the people in this nation and around the world, call upon me, that same word. cry out to me, look to me. tell me what you need and i will answer you. and i'll show you things that you can't even imagine. this theme runs through the bible when the old testament temple was built under solomon, the lord said in the old testament, my house shall be called a house of prayer. not preaching, not music. that all has its place, but the essence of religion that god approves is to look up to him so that he can help us. when jesus was here on earth,
he accomplished his work on calgary. he died for our sins. he rose again from the dead and in the book of hebrews, the writer who is unknown is summing up the work of cries as bishop quoted, therefore, now that christ has done all of this for you, therefore what? therefore, let us draw near to the throne of grace with boldness that we might receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. and that's basically what we all need today. i don't know who you are, i don't know your story, but i know this about you, you need mercy and you need grace. you need mercy because we all mess up, as the president said, and we need daily mercy. jesus taught us to pray, forgives our trespasses as we forgive others. and notice it says in this place of prayer and that's what
the throne of grace is, whether it's riding alone on the subway in new york city or alone in your office, god gives blessings of grace. what is grace? mercy is not giving us what we deserve, grace is giving us what we don't deserve, his blessings, his protection, his love, his wisdom and saying to us, pleading with us right now today, please come to the throne of grace that i might give you the mercy and grace that you need. if we're too busy, too independent and like we don't need help from god, so be it. we go our merry way without god's help, but everyone who humbles themselves and comes to god and says god help me, god has given his word, i will never ever turn you away. i will give you the very i think this that you need. it's remarkable that jesus being so gentle, so kind and loving, the most violent picture we have of him in the
new testament is when he went into the temple and he saw people making a buck out of religion. they were selling the animals at a profit. they were gouging the people. they were exchanging the money for the sheckle of the temple and they were uppricing it and he took a whip and knocked them out of the temple, how dare you do this? my father's house will be a house of prayer, it's know a place to make a dollar. people need help, lead them to prayer, that's what my house shall be, a house of prayer for all nation. that's what's written and that's what god wants us to be not only in our churches, but in our lives. and i was thinking today, as i saw everything going on here, you all make decisions starting with the president and madam vice-president, all of you distinguished leaders. you make decisions every day
that have the most immense effect on other people's lives, and the bible says this, if anyone lacks wisdom, let them ask of god, who gives liberally and will never turn anyone away, if there ever was a group of people it's for all of us because we all make decisions every day. if anyone need today pray for wisdom, isn't it you folks every single day? every single hour? come on, can we put our hands together for that? [applause] >> but let them ask in faith. you have to humble yourself because if you think you have all the wisdom you need, you'll never know god's wisdom. he'll let you go on your own, that's true in the bible, from genesis to revelation, but if we come to god and humble ourselves and say, god, i can't make this, i can't do the things you want me to do without your wisdom, without your grace, without your help. one last thought and then we'll
get on with the end of this proceeding, it's an honor to be here, by the way. come visit brooklyn tabernacle, our church isn't that good, but we have excellent cheesecake from downtown brooklyn and we'll give you some. james, the half brother of our lord, says this: like a lament from god, you have not because you ask not. no song and dance about god controls everything and what is que, serr. serra, what will be will be. you have not because you ask not. we need to see prayer instituted back in america, sincere prayer, hard prayer. can we say amen to that?
[applause] >> when you take that primitive, shall we say guts, when we take that primitive element out of religion, there is no religion. it's empty, filled with traditionalism, formalism, same old-same old as predictable as the day is long when we get back to the humble, oh, god, help me. and god will never fail us. before i walk off the stage, i'm not one of the official prayers, but i can pray anytime i want. i'd like to say a simple pray for you because i appreciate you and you need the lord. did you hear me? you need the lord. not only i need the lord, you need the lord, we all need the lord. so let's pray. lord, just briefly, we want to say thank you we could be together and we pray in the name of christ that you would grant wisdom to all the leaders
that are in this building, oh, god, the decisions they make every day, it overwhelms me, god. so i pray from the president on down, lord, you would grant wisdom, wisdom and more wisdom. give us the mercy and grace we need not just today, but every day we pray in jesus' name and everyone said amen. >> amen. >> god bless you. [applause] >> i guess that makes me the official prayer. [laughter] >> would you pray with me? gracious and generous god, that you would have blessed us with this hour of prayer and fellowship is a gift that
evokes so much more than words can express, for the spirit is in this room and it's rich and resonant in our very souls. remind us then as we descend from this mountain top of mutual blessing and depart this gathering of grace-filled communion that our prayers every day are the sweet aroma that rises to you and that will bring light in our lives and peace to our world. call us then to commit our lives to your divine care and assure us that you hear our prayers, whether they come from the privacy of our own prayer closets or in the company of fellow followers, as we offer them in your name, may we trust that you will answer us in accordance with your grace plan. and having dared to trust you with our inner most thoughts and deepest needs, may we
humble ourselves and learn to love you with our whole hearts, holding nothing back. may we play boldly before you our will and our wants, our pride and our prejudices, our convictions and our concerns and fall unburdened into your welcome and merciful embrace. out of our deep love for you, you who have reconciled yourself to us, in your love made flesh, may we be obedient to the ministry of reconciliation you have inspired in us this day and to which you have called each one to carry on beyond these doors. let's not let the grace you have shown to us in vain and priorfully, trustingly, lovingly and obediently, so we offer our prayers to you this day in the name by which we have come to know you as individuals, and for me, that
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