WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and James Lankford (R-OK) were today named co-chairmen of the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast. The announcement was made at this morning’s 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast. Coons and Lankford both spoke at the gathering about their weekly Senate prayer gathering, and how faith is a common bond that unites them.
“I’m honored to lead the 2019 National Prayer Breakfast with my colleague and friend, Senator Lankford,” said Coons. “At a time when our country and Congress are deeply divided, we need to make more ways to listen to each other, trust each other, and remember that we’re called to love one another and care for our neighbors. For me, as for millions of Americans, prayer is an important way to bring together people from all faith backgrounds to listen to one another, respect one another, and share our common concerns.”
“Prayer is a unifying force in our country,” said Lankford. “When the pressures of life build and politics divide us, prayer refocuses and recommits us to our relationship with God and each other. One of America’s greatest freedoms is the right to live your faith, or have no faith at all. Freedom of religion has played such an important part in the creation of our country; it is only fitting that we continue to recognize prayer and its important role in the lives of so many Americans through the National Prayer Breakfast.”
Each year, more than 3,000 people attend the event, and every president since President Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 has participated. House Majority Whip and US Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was the keynote speaker at today’s event. Past speakers include Mother Theresa (1994), Bono (2006), Tony Blair (2009), Dr. Ben Carson (2013), and Senate Chaplain Barry Black (2017).
The event is always chaired by a Republican and a Democrat, and the leadership switches back and forth between the House and the Senate every year. Today’s prayer breakfast was co-chaired by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL). Last year’s prayer breakfast was co-chaired by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Boozman (R-AR); Senator Coons took over for Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) mid-year.