February 14, 2017
Started in 1953 by President Dwight Eisenhower the National Prayer Breakfast is the longest tenured event of its kind, not only in the United States, but in the world. Every February people from all over the world flock to the nation’s capital to join with the President, Vice-President, members of the Cabinet, congressmen and senators to pray for those in leadership. This year I was lucky enough to be one of the few invited to this unique happening. My wife Ashley and I joined with others from all fifty states and over 140 different countries to pray for God’s blessing on our nation.
This happened to be my second experience at the National Prayer Breakfast. As a youth, junior in college, I was invited to attend based on my role as a campus leader at the University of Arkansas. I’m pretty sure I didn’t grasp the magnitude of the happening because I don’t have many memories of the event other than trying to figure out how to navigate, without a smartphone, the confusing streets of Washington DC. I got lost often, very often. This time was different. For one, the memories I made will stick with me for the rest of my life and for another I didn’t get lost, not even once, thanks to my handy Google Maps app!
As I attended meetings, heard from and met such individuals as VP Mike Pence, Pastor Rick Warren, Ben Zobrist (World Series MVP), Rear Admiral Dr. Barry Black (Chaplain of the US Senate), King Abdullah of Jordan and many others it became clear to me there are many in positions of authority around the world who actually stand up and stand mightily for issues that matter.
Yes, Washington is certainly a divided city where the right and the left don’t agree on very much. However, as I pondered this reality it struck me this negative might actually be a positive. See, we live in a country where disagreement has become all to normal and “truth grenades” filled with no real truth get launched from anywhere and everywhere muddling up the reality of many circumstances. We live in a day and time where it can be very confusing on what is truth and what is not.
The positive is without division there is no resistance. Without resistance our Christian values, which formed much of the United States founding documents, could easily fade into the past like a chapter from one of our history books. As a believer in Christ I don’t want our country’s values to become ancient history, I want them to live on for my children and my children’s children.
So, why exactly do I feel more positive about our future this week than I did last week, prior to my National Prayer Breakfast experience? Three points. First, there is no doubt in my mind the vast majority of the founding fathers intended for the nation to always, not just for a period of time, stand for the principles they lived and died for so many years ago. This was reinforced as I toured the US Capitol and saw statues, documents, paintings which all pointed, not subtly but emphatically, to the person of Jesus Christ. Secondly, there are people in Washington DC, both Republican and Democrat, in politics and not in politics, who are standing up for those principles of truth found in the Bible and lived out by Jesus Christ. Lastly, there are devoted Christians in Washington DC, certainly way more than the mainstream media would lead you to believe, whom meet regularly (at least once a week while in session) to pray, share testimony of God’s hand on their lives and to seek wisdom from one another on how to best represent the people they serve. That gives me hope, real hope.
As I traveled back to my new hometown of Conway, Arkansas I’m convinced more than ever that our role as a Christian, college preparatory school is to raise up another generation of leaders who desire not to be bystanders but to get involved with government, service and journalism while standing up for truth. We must deliver on this task. The future is in the hands of our youth, the youth we invest in everyday. They must have the truth of Christ living in their heart, the conviction of the founding fathers running through their veins, the intellect to make an impact and the desire to protect our nation’s rich legacy, rooted in Christian values, at the forefront of their agenda.
So I type this blog understanding our country might be divided but there is hope because Christ is in our nation’s capital, the Holy Spirit is stirring in the hearts of many on Capitol Hill. I’m also convicted and convinced our nation’s leaders fervently need our prayers everyday, not just at designated prayer events, but everyday and all day.
Join me and the staff of Conway Christian in praying for our nation’s appointed leaders. Pray each stand’s firm for the truth of God’s holy word and when they cast votes, make decisions, or speak on our behalf they do so seeking His wisdom and truth.
To view the keynote address of the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast click here. It’s worth your time. Trust me.
Jason L. Carson