National Prayer Breakfast

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
President John F. Kennedy addresses the Prayer Breakfast in 1961.

The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly event held in Washington, D.C., usually on the first Thursday in February. The founder of this event was Abraham Vereide.[1] The event—which is actually a series of meetings, luncheons, and dinners—has taken place since 1953 and has been held at least since the 1980s at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue NW.

The National Prayer Breakfast, held in the Hilton's International Ballroom, is typically attended by some 3,500 guests, including international invitees from over 100 countries. It is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a Christian organization. Initially called the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, the name was changed in 1970 to the National Prayer Breakfast.

It is designed to be a forum for the political, social, and business elite to assemble and pray together. Since the inception of the National Prayer Breakfast, several U.S. states and cities and other countries have established their own annual prayer breakfast events.

Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has participated in the annual event.[2]


Each year several guest speakers visit the various events connected with the National Prayer Breakfast. However, the main event, the Thursday morning breakfast, typically has two special guest speakers: the President of the United States and a guest whose identity is kept confidential until that morning. Past keynote speakers include:

Many of the past addresses by U.S. Presidents to the National Prayer Breakfast are available online.


While Members of the U.S. Congress, of the U.S. Cabinet, and of the diplomatic corps in Washington are typically invited to participate in the National Prayer Breakfast, the other more than 3,000 guests come from a variety of walks of life. Six heads of state attended the 2008 breakfast, along with Members of the European Parliament; United Nations diplomats; European, Asian, African and Latin American politicians; religious leaders; missionaries working in various countries; U.S. and foreign business leaders; and students. Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan, participated on more than one occasion, and a video interview of her speaking about the National Prayer Breakfast, its meaning and its impact on her faith, was featured at the 2008 closing dinner. In 2006, King Abdullah II of Jordan addressed the Thursday lunch. Ricardo Maduro, president of Honduras, addressed the same lunch in 2005. Musical guests have included Andrea Bocelli, Wintley Phipps, Michael W. Smith, Point of Grace, and CeCe Winans. In 2014, For the first time since Ukraine’s Independence, The Patriarch of The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Philaret was present. In 2015, the Dalai Lama addressed the International Lunch, one of the annual National Prayer Breakfast-related events.


Rev. Jim Wallis, founder and president of the Christian social change group Sojourners and a regular attendee of the National Prayer Breakfast, said of the event "it's sort of a time to — where people want to acknowledge the importance of prayer and faith. And that can be kind of a civil religion, civic faith kind of common denominator thing. Or it can be much too sectarian where some people feel left out of it. I remember my favorite ones are when Bono spoke at the prayer breakfast and talked about every faith tradition calls us to stand with those who are left out, left behind. I remember Senator Mark Hatfield spoke years ago when I was in seminary and he called the war in Vietnam a national sin and shame in front of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. I saw their faces and they weren't happy with that. So when it can raise up issues that we ought to be accountable to, whether we are religious or not, I think that's when it's probably at its best."[18]

In 2010, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington asked President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders to refrain from attending the National Prayer Breakfast. Executive Director Melanie Sloan criticized the organizing group, The Fellowship, for being what she described as intolerant and secretive.[19]

Australian National Prayer Breakfast[edit]

The Australian National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship with the support of a small organising committee. It has been occurring since 1982 and heavily borrows from US National Prayer Breakfast.[20] Key organisers and prominent participants have had links with the Fellowship such as brothers Jock Cameron and Ross Cameron, Bruce Baird, Kevin Andrews[21] and Kevin Rudd who visited C Street.[22][23][24]. Prominent speakers at the National Prayer Breakfast and associated side events include Mark Scott, Major General Michael Jeffery, Cardinal George Pell and Tim Costello.[25][24] For the 2019 Australian National Prayer Breakfast people have been invited to bring their MP because of Paul’s call to “pray for all those in authority”.[26] Leon Hribar the Canberra director for the City Bible Forum helps organise the Australian National Prayer Breakfast.[27] The main breakfast occurs at Old Parliament House Canberra.

United Kingdom National Prayer Breakfast[edit]

The National Prayer Breakfast in the UK is organised by a cross party group of MPs and Peers, working with the support of Christians in Parliament and is not associated with the US NPB. The event normally takes place over two days around the beginning of July, inside the Houses of Parliament. The main breakfast is normally held in Westminster Hall.[28]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Getter, Lisa (September 27, 2002), "Showing Faith in Discretion", Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ Todd J. Gillman (February 9, 2013). "Tyler's Louie Gohmert puts Obama criticism on pause at National Prayer Breakfast". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  3. ^ of Calcutta, Mother Teresa (February 3, 1994). "'Whatsoever You Do...'". Priests for Life (speech). Washington, DC. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
  4. ^ "Zondervan Author Ben Carson Gives Keynote at 2013 National Prayer Breakfast". Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Transcript: Bono remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast". USA Today. 2006-02-02. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
  6. ^ Frommer, Frederic (2008-02-06). "Minnesotan to deliver keynote speech at National Prayer Breakfast". Star Tribune. Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2009-04-28. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ "Tony Blair addresses Obama's first annual National Prayer Breakfast". Ekklesia. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
  8. ^ "Spanish PM to speak at prayer breakfast in Washington: reports". EU business. 2010-01-15.
  9. ^ Randall Wallace Delivers National Prayer Breakfast Keynote Address, Randall Wallace Online, February 3, 2011.
  10. ^ "No pious baloney", World, February 2, 2012.
  11. ^ "Zondervan Author Ben Carson Gives Keynote at 2013 National Prayer Breakfast". Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  12. ^ Larson, Leslie (February 6, 2014). "The Obamas show their spiritual side at the National Prayer Breakfast". NY Daily News. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  13. ^ Picker, Nedra (February 5, 2015). "#NationalPrayerBreakfast program".
  14. ^ Koran, Laura (February 4, 2016). "Obama at National Prayer Breakfast: 'Faith is the great cure for fear'". CNN. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  15. ^ Merica, Dan (February 2, 2017). "Trump at National Prayer Breakfast: 'Pray for Arnold'". CNN. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  16. ^ Bailey, Sarah Pulliam (February 8, 2018). "Trump's National Prayer Breakfast speech infused with God-and-country references". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  17. ^ "The Latest: Trump promises to always protect people of faith". The Washington Post. AP. February 7, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  18. ^ "President Gets Personal at National Prayer Breakfast". NPR. February 4, 2011.
  19. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (2010-02-04). "National prayer breakfast draws controversy". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  20. ^ anpb2011. "anpb2011". Australian National Prayer Breakfast. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  21. ^ Wroe, David (2016-01-29). "Kevin Andrews angers party whip with 'prayer breakfast' reason for Washington visit". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  22. ^ "Elite Fundamentism - The Fellowship's gospel of Capitalist Power". Radio National. 2006-04-18. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  23. ^ York, Ian Munro, New (2008-06-13). "Secrets of a powerful Family". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  24. ^ a b Maddox, Marion. (2005). God under Howard : the rise of the religious right in Australian politics. Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1741145686. OCLC 224388713.
  25. ^ "More than just a light on the hill". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-12-22. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  26. ^ "National Prayer Breakfast 2019". Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  27. ^ "National Prayer Breakfast • Tuggeranong Good Shepherd Congregation, ACT". Tuggeranong Good Shepherd Congregation, ACT. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  28. ^ "National Prayer Breakfast". Bible Society. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-08.

External links[edit]