One of the highlights of the political career of U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn (’74) was realized Feb. 6 when she co-chaired the 62nd annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
A California congresswoman, Hahn was co-chair with U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas. She introduced President Barack Obama to the audience, and led the closing prayer.
“For centuries, faith-based communities from all around the world have played a crucial role in guiding and strengthening our spiritual health and development,” said Hahn. “This remarkable breakfast provides a rare and special opportunity for leaders to come together, put aside our labels and divisions to unite in prayer and fellowship. I believe in the power of prayer and its ability to unlock doors and soften hearts. It was a humble honor to pray with the President, my congressional colleagues and world leaders in the spirit of Jesus.”
Obama thanked Hahn and also recognized the work of another Abilene Christian University graduate, Dr. Shaun Casey (’79), who is special advisor for faith-based community initiatives in the U.S. State Department. A story about Hahn in the upcoming Spring-Summer 2014 printed issue of ACU Today will provide some insights into her experience.
Although the overall event is a gathering chiefly covered by C-SPAN and other major media on Thursday morning, the National Prayer Breakfast also includes a Wednesday night banquet, and breakfast, luncheon and dinner meetings the next day. Hosted by the House and Senate Prayer Groups the first week of February each year, each meal event draws more than 3,200 people from more than 100 nations to the Washington Hilton.
Two ACU alumni have been featured at the National Prayer Breakfast: Curt Cloninger (’76) in 2012 and Max Lucado (’77) in 1999. Lucado, a minister and best-selling Christian author from San Antonio, was a keynote speaker at the Thursday breakfast, while Cloninger presented his dramatic monologue, “Jesus Speaks,” at a Thursday lunch. Cloninger is an artist-in-residence at Perimeter Church in Atlanta, Ga., where he is an actor and writer.
Founded by President Abraham Lincoln, the National Prayer Breakfast began became an annual event in 1953 in Washington, D.C., at the suggestion of newly elected President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said the White House was “the loneliest house I’ve ever been in.” One of the hosts and speakers at that first gathering was hotel pioneer Conrad Hilton. “It took a war and the frightening evil of Communism to show the world that this whole business of prayer is not a sissy, a counterfeit thing,