President Obama Speaks at Easter Prayer Breakfast

President Obama Speaks at Easter Prayer Breakfast


The President:
Well, welcome to
the White House. It is a pleasure to be with
all of you this morning. In less than a week, this house
will be overrun by thousands of kids at the Easter Egg Roll. (laughter) So I wanted to get together
with you for a little prayer and reflection — some
calm before the storm. (laughter) It is wonderful to see so
many good friends here today. To all the faith leaders from
all across the country — from churches and congregations
large and small; from different denominations and
different backgrounds — thank you for coming to our third
annual Easter prayer breakfast. And I’m grateful
that you’re here. I’m even more grateful for the
work that you do every day of the year — the compassion and
the kindness that so many of you express through your
various ministries. I know that some of you have
joined with our Office of Faith-based and
Neighborhood Partnerships. I’ve seen firsthand some of the
outstanding work that you are doing in your
respective communities, and it’s an incredible
expression of your faith. And I know that all of us who
have an opportunity to work with you draw inspiration
from the work that you do. Finally, I want to just express
appreciation for your prayers. Every time I travel
around the country, somebody is going around
saying, we’re praying for you. (laughter) We got a prayer circle going. Don’t worry, keep the faith. We’re praying. (laughter) Michelle gets the same stuff. And that means a lot to us. It especially means a lot
to us when we hear from folks who we know probably
didn’t vote for me — (laughter) — and yet, expressing
extraordinary sincerity about their prayers. And it’s a reminder not only
of what binds us together as a nation, but also what binds us
together as children of God. Now, I have to be careful, I
am not going to stand up here and give a sermon. It’s always a bad idea
to give a sermon in front of professionals. (laughter) But in a few short days, all of
us will experience the wonder of Easter morning. And we will know, in the
words of the Apostle Paul, “Christ Jesus…and
Him crucified.” It’s an opportunity for us to
reflect on the triumph of the resurrection, and to give
thanks for the all-important gift of grace. And for me, and I’m
sure for some of you, it’s also a chance to remember
the tremendous sacrifice that led up to that day, and all that
Christ endured — not just as a Son of God, but
as a human being. For like us, Jesus knew doubt. Like us, Jesus knew fear. In the garden of Gethsemane,
with attackers closing in around him, Jesus told His disciples,
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He fell to his knees, pleading
with His Father, saying, “If it is possible, may
this cup be taken from me.” And yet, in the end, He
confronted His fear with words of humble surrender, saying, “If
it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink
it, may your will be done.” So it is only because Jesus
conquered His own anguish, conquered His fear, that
we’re able to celebrate the resurrection. It’s only because He endured
unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of
the world that He burdened — that burdened His soul that
we are able to proclaim, “He is Risen!” So the struggle to fathom that
unfathomable sacrifice makes Easter all the more
meaningful to all of us. It helps us to provide an
eternal perspective to whatever temporal challenges we face. It puts in perspective our small
problems relative to the big problems He was dealing with. And it gives us courage
and it gives us hope. We all have experiences
that shake our faith. There are times where we have
questions for God’s plan relative to us — (laughter) — but that’s precisely when we
should remember Christ’s own doubts and eventually
his own triumph. Jesus told us as much in the
book of John, when He said, “In this world you
will have trouble.” I heard an amen. (laughter) Let me repeat. “In this world, you
will have trouble.”>>Audience:
Amen!>>The President:
“But take heart!” (laughter) “I have overcome the world.” (applause) We are here today to celebrate
that glorious overcoming, the sacrifice of a risen savior
who died so that we might live. And I hope that our time
together this morning will strengthen us individually,
as believers, and as a nation. And with that, I’d like
to invite my good friend, Dr. Cynthia Hale, to
deliver our opening prayer. Dr. Hale. (applause) Dr. Cynthia Hale:
Pray with me. Good morning, God. What a privilege to greet you
this day in the company of our beloved President and colleagues
from all across this nation. We are gathered here in our
nation’s capital to pray. If ever there was a
time we needed prayer, it is now when tragedy is
commonplace and violence seeks to consume the lives
of countless people, love fights to maintain its
preeminence in the presence of hate, and truth is
being crushed by lies. God, if ever there was a time
when we need to pray, it is now. We pray for our
President, his family, Cabinet and all those who
partner with him in leading our nation, keep them safe
from all hurt, harm and danger, and keep them focused on
and faithful to the cause of creating a just
and equitable society. We pray for the spiritual
leaders who are gathered here to proclaim peace
throughout the land. Keep us pressing forward
against the very forces of evil. We pray, God, for those who
are homeless and hurting, for the grieving and those
who are tempted to give up. We pray for those who need
health care and healing, for those who need the assurance
that all their hard work, labor and accomplishments will
not be stripped from them by the greed of others. We pray, O’Lord, because you
have given us the privilege and promise that 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 will I hear
from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal the land. We pray during this Easter
season confidence that you will heal our land. You’re a master at transforming
tragedies for our good. The events of Good Friday were
by all accounts a tragedy, an innocent man died a horrible
death for the sins of the world. But early Sunday morning,
you raised your Son, turning that tragedy
into triumph, proving that love is
stronger than hate, good is greater than evil,
and truth crushed to earth will rise again. It’s in your risen Son’s name,
Jesus, that we pray, hallelujah! Amen. (applause) And now with our opening
song, the Dove Award nominee, Mrs. Sara Groves. (applause) ♪♪ (piano playing) ♪♪ Sara Groves:
♪ Morning by morning I wake up to find ♪ ♪ The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine ♪ ♪ Season by season I watch Him, amazed ♪ ♪ In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways ♪ ♪ All I have need of, His hand will provide ♪ ♪ He’s Always Been Faithful to me ♪ ♪♪ (piano playing) ♪♪ ♪ I can’t remember a trial or a pain ♪ ♪ He did not recycle to bring me gain ♪ ♪ I can’t remember one single regret ♪ ♪ In serving God only, and trusting His hand ♪ ♪ All I have need of, ♪ ♪ His hand will provide ♪ ♪ He’s Always Been Faithful to me. ♪ ♪♪ (piano playing) ♪♪ ♪ This is my anthem, this is my song ♪ ♪ The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long ♪ ♪ God has been faithful, He will be again ♪ ♪ His loving compassion, it knows no end ♪ ♪ All I have need of, His hand will provide ♪ ♪ He’s always been faithful, ♪ ♪♪ (piano playing) ♪♪ ♪ He’s always been faithful, ♪ ♪♪ (piano playing) ♪♪ ♪ He’s always been faithful to me. ♪ ♪♪ (piano playing) ♪♪ Will you sing with me if you know it. ♪ Great is thy faithfulness. O God my Father ♪ ♪ There is no shadow of turning with thee ♪ ♪ Thou changest not thy compassions they fail not ♪ ♪ As thou hast been thou forever will be ♪ ♪ Great is thy faithfulness, ♪ ♪ great is thy faithfulness ♪ ♪ Morning by morning new mercies I see ♪ ♪ All I have needed thy hand hath provided ♪ ♪ Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me. ♪ ♪ All I have need of, His hand will provide. ♪ ♪ He’s always been faithful to me. ♪ ♪♪ (piano playing) ♪♪ ♪ Thank you, Lord. ♪ ♪ You have been so good. ♪ ♪ Hmmmm — ♪ (applause) Beautiful. (applause)


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