Obama Sits Out National Day of Prayer as Millions Pray for Him
May 7, 2009 - 5:17 PMA caucus room in a House of Representatives office building was transformed into a place of worship on Thursday, as people in the nation's capital joined with millions of others Americans across the country to celebrate the National Day of Prayer.
Members of Congress, religious and military leaders, and ordinary citizens prayed for the nation and for those who lead it, including President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden – neither of whom made any public appearance or speech to mark the occasion.
Obama issued a proclamation marking the day on Thursday afternoon, which is required by federal law.
Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin, chaplain of the House, led the opening prayer at the event in the Cannon House Office Building. That prayer included the president and other leaders.
“As we pray for our president today and the whole executive branch, we all pray Psalm 46 for those who have the leadership over our nation and this country,” Coughlin said. “Psalm 46 begins, ‘God is our refuge and strength and ever-present hope in trouble.’” “Lord, as we lift before you the president, the executive team, and the legislators that surround him, we pray first of all that you would give them the spirit of wisdom,” Dave Butts, president of Harvest Prayer Ministries, said as he led the prayer for the executive branch. “A spirit of wisdom that is from you, that is by you, that is for you and it is all about you.
“Wisdom that leads this country to the path of righteousness,” Butts said.
The morning program featured prayers for repentance and all branches of the U.S. government, including lawmakers, Supreme Court judges, and the military.
Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, was joined by her husband, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, in introducing speakers and prayer leaders, which included Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), Gen. James Amos, assistant commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, federal judge Priscilla Owen and NFL star Shaun Alexander.
Beth Moore, a popular Christian speaker, author, and honorary chairwoman of the task force, was the keynote speaker. She spoke about the importance of prayer for the future of the nation.
“We the people of God must remain a sound voice of moral conscience,” Moore said.
Bachmann spoke about what she considers the true power in Washington.
“It comforts me to no end to know that it isn’t any human being, it is the Lord that has the government on his shoulder,” Bachmann said. “All things are possible. He is our true hope. He is the light of the world and in these uncertain times, it is a comfort when Scripture tells us, ‘I am God.’”