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'National Prayer Breakfast' mixes politics with prayer as Tim Tebow closes the day
February 06 , 2010


Every President since Dwight D. Eisenhower has attended the National Prayer Breakfast the first week of February. This year is no exception. President Obama headlined the event that brought a bi-partisan group together to celebrate faith … or at least civility.

Politics were mixed in with prayer and faith. Topics like health care, going green and gay rights were intermittently dispersed in Obama’s speech, and seemed to reach out and touch people of any or no faith. Acknowledging the division in the U.S. over gay rights, he added: "We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are." Striving for unification on a subject that has divided the country, the President noted: "We may disagree about the best way to reform our health care system, but surely we can agree that no one ought to go broke when they get sick in the richest nation on Earth,." he said.

Since before his inauguration, Obama has been accused of not being a U.S. citizen, or at least having the paperwork. While he calls himself Christian, some would say he has Muslim roots. In an attempt to put these issues to rest, he petitioned the crowd: … "But surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith, or, for that matter, my citizenship."

The spirit of compassion was applauded as Americans have a history of banning together during crisis’ like Haiti and Hurricane Katrina: "God’s grace and the compassion … expressed through multiple faith-based efforts. By evangelicals at World Relief. By the American Jewish World Service. By Hindu temples, and mainline Protestants, Catholic Relief Services, African American churches, the United Sikhs. By Americans of every faith, and no faith, uniting around a common purpose, a higher purpose."

The theme seemed to center around civility, or the lack thereof. Obama spoke about the polarization of the political parties, and importance of working together. "Empowered by faith, consistently, prayerfully, we need to find our way back to civility. That begins with stepping out of our comfort zones in an effort to bridge divisions," he proclaimed.

The President rallied for the "spirit of civility" and mentioned names like Dr. Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and William Wilberforce. "It is this spirit of civility that we are called to take up when we leave here today. That's what I'm praying for. I know in difficult times like these -- when people are frustrated, when pundits start shouting and politicians start calling each other names -- it can seem like a return to civility is not possible, like the very idea is a relic of some bygone era. The word itself seems quaint -- civility.

For the full script of President Obama's speech, click here.

Florida’s own Tim Tebow, former Gator quarterback and NFL hopeful, attended the breakfast and had the honor of saying the closing prayer for the crowd of 3,000. This is his prayer:

"Dear Jesus, thank you for this day today. Thank you for bringing together so many people that have a platform to influence people for you.

Lord as we disperse today, let us be united in love, hope, and peace. Lord, let us come together as one and break down all the barriers in between us that separate us. Lord you came to seek and save that which is lost, and we thank you for that. Lord we don't know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future, and in that there is peace, and in that there comfort, and in that there is hope.

Lord we pray for the people all over the world that are hurting right now.

The verse that comes to mind is James 1: 2-4, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, whenever you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing."

And we pray for the people in Haiti right now Lord, that you make them perfect and complete because you love them and have a plan for their lives, just as you do with our lives now.

So my prayer, as we leave today, that we are united as one because of you. We love you and thank you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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