Who Says Congress Doesn't Have a Prayer
WASHINGTON â€“ â€œJust to let you know, we members of Congress, we actually pray all the time â€“ most often in private, but tonight weâ€™re here as witnesses to each other before God.â€
Thatâ€™s what Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., told the crowd of roughly a hundred guests at the 2015 â€œWashington: A Man of Prayerâ€ service, held in the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.
The event, now in its fourth year, is an effort by Rev. Dan Cummins to return prayer to the Capitolâ€™s Statuary Hall, where weekly Christian church services were held from 1800 to 1869.
The event is held on or around the anniversary of George Washingtonâ€™s first presidential inauguration, which took place April 30, 1789. After being sworn in that day at New York Cityâ€™s Federal Hall, Washington, accompanied by Congress, proceeded to St. Paulâ€™s Chapel to offer prayers to God on behalf of the new nation.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., served as honorary hosts for this yearâ€™s event.
Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, reflected on how participation in the event has changed in its four years.
â€œIf we go back four years when this started, it was a whole lot of preachers lined up and praying and one member of Congress that first year, then a couple the next year, and now, this time, itâ€™s members of Congress praying,â€ Garlow told the crowd.
Indeed, the overwhelming majority of those who offered prayers Wednesday night were congressmen. Twenty House members took to the podium to publicly offer up praise to God, but also to ask for His help.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., thanked the Lord for providing the opportunity to lead, but he acknowledged there is only one true leader of the United States.
â€œLord, we donâ€™t want you to simply be the copilot, but Lord, we want you to be the pilot of this great country,â€ Mullin prayed.
Dr. Ruth Mizell, widow of the late Rep. Wilmer Mizell, R-N.C., offered a similar plea for the countryâ€™s leaders.
â€œWe pray for all our leaders today,â€ she said. â€œWe pray, Lord, that they will not lean on their own understanding, but in all their ways they will acknowledge you, and you will direct their path.â€
Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., prayed that the righteous, not the wicked, would rule America.
â€œYouâ€™ve said when the righteous increase in power, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, people groan,â€ Walberg declared. â€œGod, we donâ€™t want you to groan. We donâ€™t want your people to groan.â€
Other speakers expressed gratefulness to God. Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, thanked the Lord for His many blessings to America, proclaiming Americans are the most blessed people that have ever lived. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., gave thanks for Americaâ€™s religious character.
â€œThe size and scope of the challenges before us would overcome a faithless people,â€ she said. â€œThankfully, ours is a nation founded upon deference to our Creator.â€
Foxxâ€™s fellow North Carolinian, Rep. Robert Pittenger, thanked God for sending Washington as the father of America.
â€œWe thank you for your good work in the person that you chose in George Washington to be the example, that his greatness was really the result of his humility before you,â€ Pittenger prayed.
New Mexico Republican Steve Pearce thanked God for his many blessings of wealth to the nation, but he added a caveat.
â€œLord, we give you thanks for [our many benefits], but we also confess that we as a people have been complacent and have squandered that wealth,â€ Pearce prayed.
Several congressmen clearly felt America was on the wrong track, and they prayed that God would help save the country.
â€œAlmighty God, we have come a long way since our birth as a republic, but we have wandered somehow,â€ lamented Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa.
Pitts declared Americans have become â€œtechnological giants and spiritual and moral dwarves,â€ and that they are â€œsophisticated in scientific progress, and primitive in spiritual development.â€
â€œDear God, help us get our act together before it is too late,â€ Pitts prayed.
â€œLord, we ask for wisdom â€“ wisdom to once again be able to discern right from wrong,â€ prayed Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. â€œIf thereâ€™s going to be trouble, let it be on our watch, so that our children may know an everlasting peace.â€
Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, observed that Christians are being persecuted around the globe and traditional marriage is under assault at home.
â€œWe are truly a troubled nation, and I donâ€™t think Godâ€™s done with us yet, but itâ€™s going to take us turning to God and spending time on our knees,â€ Flores said.
Floresâ€™s fellow Texas congressman, Brian Babin, sounded a similar note about Christian persecution overseas.
â€œLet America stand up and let us stand against this tide of evil that seems to be going around our globe,â€ he prayed.
In addition to the many prayers of congressmen, guests were treated to music from a National Christian Choir ensemble, hymn writers and musicians Keith and Kristyn Getty, and tenor Steve Amerson. The soaring voice of Amerson had most of the audience singing along with him to â€œGod Bless Americaâ€ near the end of the program.
Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of the New York Times bestseller â€œThe Harbinger,â€ whipped the crowd into a standing ovation with a passionate speech condemning America for offending God, as WND has previously reported.
He called out President Obama on his pro-abortion stance, and the Supreme Court for presuming to review and define marriage.
â€œJustices, can you judge the ways of God? There is another court and there another judge, where all men and all judges will give account,â€ he said.
Father Patrick Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Barry Black, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, were also on hand to offer their prayers. Conroy gave thanks for George Washington, while Black implored Americans to â€œmake prayer as natural as breathing.â€ Black also lamented for his hometown of Baltimore, saying he felt
â€œgreat emotionsâ€ while seeing it burn.
â€œIâ€™m more convinced than ever that the challenges we face cannot and will not be won by better arguments and donâ€™t demand a change of minds, but demand a change of heart, God,â€ said Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Texas. â€œWe need you to change hearts in this place and across this nation,â€ â€