Many of us heard about the National Prayer Breakfast that is held yearly in Washington, D.C., on the first Thursday of February each year. Thousands of people comprising of ministers and presidents attend the meeting since it was first launched 1935 by Norwegian-born Methodist minister Abraham Vereide in Seattle, WA. Initially, the breakfast originated to bring preachers and businessmen together so they could brainstorm on how to fight poverty and pray before work. The initiative descended on Washington D.C. at the Senate in 1942 where leaders often inquired God for guidance. This started a pathway for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who attended in 1953, to savor the event beyond the hearty menu of grits and sausage at the breakfast. It was an exchange of ideas and a way to seek God for guidance. There is power in prayer and in joining with people of faith who have the same intentions. Prayer might even be a necessity. "Even our supplications are imperfect. Of course, they are. We are imperfect human beings," Eisenhower observed. "But if we can back off from those problems and make the effort, then there is something that ties us all together."
We have tremendous freedoms in our country to worship and to pray in public or in our homes. Some Christians have come under fire for praying in public over the years. Others mostly, tend to be hesitant to pray in public due to cultural pressures. Nevertheless, corporate prayer is something that is underutilized and goes beyond the scope of just the individual. When we are gathered together there is power in our chorus being lifted towards heaven. We also experience God's glory being manifested. So, why start a prayer breakfast? A lot of people like to begin their day with prayer. Before work or school, people can meet to eat and seek petition with the Lord. Additionally, morning prayer is the best way to command the day and to grow closer to Him. Jesus knew this all too well. He prayed in the morning because it was a good way to sidestep the distractions that come when people are struggling to get things done later in the day. Here are more reasons that you should begin your own prayer breakfast.
You become more connected to God.
Prayer is not just for the church where we passively sit back and watch the world go by. Corporate prayer can be done anywhere. By hosting a breakfast at your home or at a restaurant you are putting your faith into action. Prayer is about connecting with God as it is a line to the Father for us to express ourselves. Look at it as a journey with God. When we meet with other like-minded people we can focus on God and seek Him for answers to complex problems that are going on. We can also ponder on what God is doing in our hearts at the time as we humbly seek him with our petitions.
You learn more about your community.
If you want to become more involved in the world and in your community, launch a breakfast in town and invite local officials and leaders. This will give them a platform to talk about their concerns in the area. Taking charge like this is better than lamenting that nothing gets done in the community. Once you have an idea of the needs and challenges, you can then collectively create a goal list and a prayer list to tackle.
You will experience growth.
Once you become more involved in the process and unifying with other people, you will see growth in your spiritual life and personal life. " A man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history," author Andrew Murray wrote. While you are investing in God's work, you are enlisting others to advance God's work on earth. God is also exposing you to servanthood, sacrifice, truth, honor and selflessness. This is what it is all about, isn't it?
You will find strength in numbers.
If you want to experience power start praying with others before the day begins. In Mathew 18-20, Jesus talks about the strength when more than one prays in unison. "For where 2 or 3 gather together in My name, there am I with them.” Standing on God’s promises together when you meet is encouraging and will enable the group to stand together when there are challenging moments within the community and within the country. If we can tap into this source more, just think of the changes we can make.
You will be more prepared for spiritual battles.
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God," the Bible shared in Ephesians 6:17. When we use the power of prayer, the power of solidarity and wielding God's Word we are pulling down strongholds. We can can't see everything that is going on in the spiritual world and there is a reason. As humans, we could not handle it. However, when you launch these attacks on the enemy through meeting together and praying--you are creating an environment for the Holy Spirit to move. When you gather people to pray together, you are declaring war on evil as well. People who stand in the gap for a town or a country, the battle can be tough--but victory is assured in Christ. Encountering this will make you better equipped when an attack is launched against you by the enemy.
In reality, you can have prayer anywhere. But there is something powerful and meaningful when you call on others to pray, share and uplift each other at the start of the day. Vereide started a movement that was set in motion to help our nation's leaders find spiritual support and guidance in making wise decisions in their government positions. We have the same responsibility towards our own communities outside of Washington, D.C.