The National Prayer Breakfast took place on Thursday, February 2, 2017.
I did not know that President Eisenhower initiated this event in 1953. That said, prayer has long been a part of the American legislature.
Today, Washington DC has several prayer groups and Bible study sessions for a variety of men and women working in public service, from janitors to senators.
The video below is of the whole event which took place at the Hilton. Hundreds of people attended the breakfast, hosted by Congress and the Fellowship Foundation:
Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs — 2016’s Most Valuable Player (the Cubs won the World Series after 108 years) — opened with a heartfelt, eloquent and moving prayer. Breakfast then commenced. (Photo credit: Wikipedia.)
President Trump did not eat. Instead, he engaged in lively conversation at table (26:00). He had a lot to say.
Although the breakfast had Muslim guests, the speakers were Christian, except for the rabbi who recited a beautiful prayer in Hebrew and English (42:23).
US Senate Chaplain and Rear Admiral Barry Black gave a dynamic 25-minute sermon (51:00). If you have the time, it is definitely worth listening to him. The man really knows his Scripture, and that, he said, came about thanks to his mother. She would pay him and his siblings five cents for every new Bible verse that they memorised. One day, young Barry began reciting several newly-memorised verses. His mother said he would only be receiving no more than a quarter — twenty-five cents. He said that he went on to read the Bible after that, to find out more about Jesus Christ and God the Father.
Mark Burnett, producer of The Apprentice, spoke next (1:20:00). He described how he and Trump met at Trump Tower when Burnett floated the idea of the successful 14-series television show with the billionaire. (Arnold Schwarzenegger now hosts it and ratings have tanked. See below.) Trump told Burnett to ring his agent to ask if the real estate mogul could be the star. The agent said no. Trump then got on the phone with the agent. According to him, the conversation ended with, ‘You’re fired!’ (Trump said that came later, once the agent asked for his commission.)
The News Junky has more on Burnett’s address regarding Trump. Of their friendship, Burnett said:
It’s been one of the greatest relationships of my life.
Yet, in October 2016, when he refused to release a supposedly incriminating tape from The Apprentice:
Burnett released a statement saying: “I am NOT ‘Pro-Trump.’ Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.”
I did not know that Burnett was British. He was born in Dagenham, to the east of London, in 1960. Dagenham was the site of Britain’s Ford plant. Burnett’s parents worked there. His father was a Presbyterian and his mother a Catholic. Burnett and his wife Roma Downey are practising Christians.
Burnett served in the Paras and saw action during the Falklands War. He emigrated to the United States in 1982 and worked for the first few years as a nanny. His second employer offered him a job in his insurance company. Burnett took that and also went into business for himself at the weekend selling tee-shirts. Realising that he was making more money from the shirts, he resigned from his position in insurance.
In 1991, he and four others signed up for a French adventure competition, the Raid Gauloises. Afterwards, he decided to stage his own competitions, beginning with Eco-Challenge, which launched his career as a television producer. The final of the highly-rated Survivor was crucial to the rest of his career. It was filmed at the Wollman Ice Rink in Central Park which Trump had made viable again after years of neglect. Trump showed up to watch on the sidelines and introduced himself to Burnett, giving him his personal phone number. That’s how Burnett arranged his aforementioned meeting at Trump Tower. (You can read more about Burnett’s life at The Ringer: worthwhile and inspiring for young people pursuing a career.)
I digress — but only somewhat.
The president spoke last (1:30:00). He opened by saying that he hoped to address the crowd at seven more National Prayer Breakfasts. After complimenting various guests and speakers, he spoke about The New Celebrity Apprentice and its low ratings, half-jokingly asking the crowd to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger. The media will go crazy over that, but that took less than a minute.
Trump thanked the thousands of Americans who have said to him, ‘I will pray for you’. He said those were the five most important words he has heard from the campaign to the present. He then spoke at length about the selfless service of the military, referring to the recent completed mission in Yemen in which one Navy SEAL, Ryan Owens, lost his life. (Trump and Ivanka went to pay their respects to his family.)
He spoke of God’s blessings on America and said that it is a ‘nation of believers’. He said that ‘spiritual success’ is far more important than ‘material success’; those with the latter are miserable because they lack the former.
He also spoke about the Bible lessons his mother gave him and his siblings when they were children. She used the Bible upon which he was sworn in on January 20.
He also spoke about the challenges he is facing but told the crowd not to ‘worry about it’. He also explained that while he supports immigration, the new arrivals should only be those people who love America.
He ended by stressing the importance of a sustaining ‘faith in God’, because:
With God we are never alone.
Trump’s faith is returning. He spoke well and had useful messages to give not only to those at the prayer breakfast — but all of us, even those who are not American.