I had the great honor of being part of the Minnesota delegation last week at the National Day of Prayer in Washington DC. It was an eye opening experience, as well as one of great hope for our country and our world.

A couple of interesting facts about the National Prayer Breakfast:

  • Started in 1952 when Dwight Eisenhower was the President of the USA.
  • Since 1952 the sitting President of the US has never missed the event.
  • Co-led by both Democrats and Republicans
  • Over 90 % of the participants every year are attending for the first time
  • 130 Countries were represented this year
  • It’s a full day event with seminars, speeches, & divine appointments

I asked myself why the Prayer Breakfast is so impactful and so significant that our President schedules around it to insure his attendance. I think it breaks down to two fundamental reasons:

  1. There is nothing more important than looking to Jesus’ guidance in the running of our country / our communities / our businesses / our families / our personal lives.
  2. We need to look to Jesus life as our model of servant leadership.

I witnessed or learned the following that supports these reasons during my time at the Prayer Breakfast:

  • Representative Louie Gohmert (arguably the most conservative far-right Republican representative in the House) and Representative Janice Hahn (arguable the most liberal far-left Democrat in the House) working together co-chairing this event with one cohesive purpose – Lifting up the name of Jesus. You can love your enemy.
  • A bi-partisan group of people from the House and a bi-partisan group from the Senate meet religiously every week to pray for the country, the work they are doing, fellow leaders, and their families.  You can build relationships with your enemy.
  • The values of Jesus’ life transcend all cultures and religions, (Christian / Jewish / Muslim) and drive positive engagement among people. Common values break down barriers.
  • Leaders from two countries at war with each other came together at this event in the past in a divine appointment and resolved their bloody conflict. God is in charge and can do the impossible.
  • Politics is not going to make the difference – People are!

Specifics that I am going to immediately focus on coming out of this experience:

  • Pray more – As leaders there is nothing more powerful at our disposal that lifting up everything to God in prayer.
  • Stay acutely focused on my purpose of “Glorifying God by helping leaders to look to Jesus for their model of leadership to enable them to achieve their God-given potential.”
  • Focus on loving until it hurts and be more intentional about building new and deeper relationships.

I know all this sounds hard to believe, based on what we daily see on TV. Had I not witnessed it in person, and had it confirmed by a 20-year veteran at the Capital, I would have been extremely skeptical myself. Praying for guidance, and looking to Jesus model for leadership, provides hope for our future as long as each of us as individuals step up and have the courage to carry this message forward in our daily lives.

What strikes you in this conversation? I would really like to hear your thoughts.

 Mark Deterding

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13