Faith

Five Times Our Senators Have Prayed Together

Outpouring of support for Sen. John McCain is one of many instances our elected leaders have turned to faith for healing

Many faith-filled members of Congress look to God for strength on a regular basis — but rarely make a big deal about it.

Yet it’s worth an important pause to review just when they have put the hard, scrappy work of politics aside, even if momentarily — and taken some time to talk to the Lord about critical matters and ask for help and healing.

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Here are five times members of the Senate have put prayer over politics.

1.) For Sen. John McCain. On Wednesday evening, senators gathered together to pray for one of their own: McCain (R-Ariz.) was just diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“Senator McCain appreciates the outpouring of support he has received over the last few days,” according to a statement from his office. “He is in good spirits as he continues to recover at home with his family in Arizona.”

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Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) — a former youth pastor — led a group of senators in prayer for McCain on Wednesday evening.

“It was very emotional,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D), told Fox News. “The group of senators was taking part in an evening meeting to discuss health care,” as Fox reported.

2.) For Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. The handful of senators who played in the annual Congressional Baseball Game for charity this past June prayed on the field with representative colleagues for Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) — who was shot during the Republican team’s practice for the annual summer game.

The House chaplain led a moment of silence with Republican and Democrat players. Lawmakers gathered to pray at second base — Scalise’s position — before the start of the game in June.

Related: A Moment of Prayer in Politics

3.) On the National Day of Prayer — and every day. “Members of the House and Senate, as you know, open the day every day with a prayer. It’s been that way from the very beginning. Even the first Continental Congress on September 7, 1774, opened in prayer,” Sen. Lankford said on the Senate floor on May 4 in recognition of the National Day of Prayer.

Lankford chairs the Congressional Prayer Caucus. “I encourage Americans to pray for the president, for the vice president, for their cabinet, for the Supreme Court, members of the Senate and of the House, the staff that serve around us and with us that serve people around this country, for our military, first responders, the list could go on and on … Ask God to continue to protect them,” said Lankford as he encouraged Americans to pray for those in government.

On this same day, President Donald Trump hosted an event in the White House Rose Garden with faith leaders.

4.) At an annual bipartisan prayer event. The National Prayer Breakfast is traditionally held in the nation’s capital at the Washington Hilton on the first Thursday in February. Members of Congress host the event. Members of prayer groups, alternating between U.S. Senate and House chambers each year, host and direct.

“Today we continue a tradition begun by President Eisenhower some 64 years ago,” Trump said at this year’s event. “This gathering is a testament to the power of faith, and is one of the great customs of our nation, and I hope to be here seven more times with you.”

This past February, Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) co-chaired the event.

Related: Where Our Presidents Have Prayed

5.) On a weekly basis. “Senators from a wide range of different faiths and political backgrounds join the Senate Prayer Breakfast each week,” Coons and Boozman wrote in an op-ed January 31 in the Washington Examiner.

“Not only does this time of reflection help us build relationships with our colleagues across the aisle by giving us an hour together each week, but it reminds each of us that the human bonds that unite us are, in fact, far stronger than our political disagreements.”

The group meets Wednesday mornings in a senators-only event with the Senate chaplain, “where we pray together and share our personal stories, family concerns, and faith journeys with each other,” Coons and Boozman wrote.

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