Rep. Allen West, a freshman Republican congressman from Florida, told guests and colleagues attending the 60th National Day of Prayer on Thursday on Capitol Hill that America is “rooted” in its Judeo-Christian faith and that prayer is needed to solve the nation’s problems.
For contrast, read Day of Prayer: Atheists Peer In from Outside
UPDATE 7/22/12: Prayer Needed - Government Isn't the Solution
-- From "Freshman Representative Says Prayer Needed to Solve America’s Problems" by Penny Starr, CNSNews.com 5/5/11
“We must pray as it states in II Chronicles 7:14, ‘If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land,’” West said.
The three-hour worship service, held in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill, included prayers for the executive branch of the U.S. government, the Supreme Court judges, and the legislators in the House and the Senate. Prayers were also offered for all branches of the U.S. military.
The keynote speaker at the event was Joni Eareckson Tada, who was paralyzed from the neck down after a diving accident in 1967. Despite her disability – and battling breast cancer – Eareckson Tada is an author, a “mouth artist” who paints holding a paintbrush in her teeth, and has traveled the world for her Christian ministry and to help other people with disabilities.
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Transcript (in full): Congressman West's National Day of Prayer Speech
"A Mighty Fortress is our God"
Psalm 91 "The Soldiers Psalm"......Verse 2; "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust"
Psalm 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea".
Psalm 11:3 "If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?"
We have come here this morning on a day set aside to remember from whence our strength comes. This week began with a great piece of news for America, the personification of evil, Osama Bin Laden was killed by our US Navy SEAL special operators.
On this National Day of Prayer, I can attest without any doubt that before those brave Warriors launched their mission, they prayed. Prayer is the means by which we can find refuge in our Lord God as we face trials, tribulations, and tumultuous times.
When the foundations of America were attacked and destroyed on September 11, 2001 we found ourselves as a Nation doing that which is best, praying. We found ourselves doing as it says in Psalm 34:6, "This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him And saved him out of all his troubles."
In our Congressional office there is a simple portrait hanging on the wall facing my desk. It is a portrait that reminds me where great leaders find strength in times of troubles. It is a portrait which reminds me of the faith and conviction that enabled a rag tag bunch of 13 Colonies to come together and triumph.
It is the portrait of General George Washington kneeling beside his horse, hands clapsed, and head bowed in the snow of Valley Forge.
It was a time characterized by the immortal words of Thomas Paine, "These are the times which try men's souls. The summer Soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that STANDS it now, deserves the love and thanks of men and women".
I know that before you can stand against the evils, trials, and challenges we all face.....we must first kneel in prayer.
As we trust in God through the power of prayer we can say as it says in Romans 8:31 "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us."
This America is rooted in a Judeo-Christian faith tradition which finds its cornerstone of communication, prayer.
Thomas Jefferson stated, "Can the liberties of a Nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my Country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever".
And George Washington stated, "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more that the people of the United States.....We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious [favorable] smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a Nation which disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself ordained".
Psalm 11:3 asks us a simple question, "If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?"
The answer is simple, this Nation will pray when its foundations are being destroyed.
We must pray for our economic security and the blessings of long term sustainable job growth policies.
We must pray for our national security to ensure this great Republic, the grand experiment in individual liberty is preserved for future generations.
We must pray for the restoration of the American family and the sanctity of innocent life.
We must pray that the ideological chasm which now separates our America can be closed.
We must pray as it states in II Chronicles 7:14, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and PRAY and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and HEAL their land.
Yes, I believe as it states in Jeremiah 29:11-13...."For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and PRAY to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart".
I know that this is a time when the restoration of our faith and belief in the power of prayer as a Nation will result in the promise of Romans 5:3-4, "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope"....and not a hope in Man.
As it says in Phillipians 4:13....."we can do ALL things" which is why I know the greatest days of America lie ahead as we remember this day and the power of Prayer.
In closing, I know that certain individuals and their media allies will be chomping to attack these words I share today. They shall cry separation of church and State.....but that principle does not apply to separating me from my faith and belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our Savior Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the power of prayer. And it does not apply to separating this great Nation from its Judeo-Christian faith heritage.
We must never dwell in the realm of fear nor shy away from our convictions if we believe the simple admonition of Isaiah 54:17, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from me, Says the Lord."
I am not a perfect Man, but my daily prayer is the Lord's prayer as found in Matthew Chapter 6 and the prayer of Jabez, I Chronicles 4:10, "O that you would bless Me indeed and enlarge my territory, that your hand would be with me, to protect me from evil, so that I will not cause harm, and God granted him as he requested".
Therefore, on this 60th Annual National Day of Prayer, I implore this Nation and all of you here to lift your eyes unto the Hills, where we shall find our strength. Mount up with wings like Eagles. Run and never grow weary. Walk and never faint.
And never forget, that before you STAND strong, you must first kneel in prayer.
God bless you all, God bless America.
Steadfast and Loyal!