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Obama shares at National Prayer Breakfastcomment (0)

February 10, 2011

The 59th annual National Prayer Breakfast held Feb. 3 in Washington D.C. was said to be one of the most emotional, personal and least political breakfasts in quite some time.

Jose Enriquez, one of the 33 Chilean miners who was trapped for 69 days in a mine last year, was one of several speakers who addressed about 4,000 attendees that included political leaders, diplomats and religious officials.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said, “The first 17 days were the worst because of no contact with the outside world. … But we kept preaching the word of God.”

He also told the crowd that one of the greatest miracles was when a drill made its way down to them that sent them small Bibles with each man’s name printed on them. When the capsule made its way down to the trapped miners in order to bring them to safety, they knelt down and prayed thanking God for seeing them through the end.

The breakfast also was emotional as Capt. Mark Kelly, wife of Ariz., Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded during the Jan. 8 shooting in Tuscon, Ariz., gave the concluding prayer.

But the headliner of the event was President Barack Obama, who talked very openly about his Christian faith.

“My Christian faith … has been a sustaining force for me over these last few years, all the more so when Michelle and I hear our faith questioned from time to time,” Obama said.

“We are reminded that ultimately what matters is not what other people say about us but whether we are being true to our conscience and true to our God.”

The president’s remarks come in the wake of a Pew Poll last summer that showed Americans harbor persistent questions about Obama’s faith, with one in four thinking he is a Muslim and 43 percent unable to say which faith he follows.

As the son of parents who largely shunned organized religion, Obama said he was influenced by clergy of the civil rights movement, including the late Martin Luther King Jr. and leaders of the Jewish, Muslim and Hindu faiths.

As a community organizer working with churches in Chicago, Obama said, “I came to know Jesus Christ for myself and embrace Him as my Lord and Savior.”

Obama said he prays in the morning for “strength to do right” and at bedtime, “I wait on the Lord, and I ask him to forgive me my sins.”

In addition to sharing personal stories of faith and prayer, Obama voiced concern over the violence in Egypt, growing tensions in the Middle East and the lack of civility in the United States, calling attention to the Arizona tragedy.

The National Prayer Breakfast, which is sponsored by the evangelical organization The Family, has been attended by every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Compiled by news services)

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