UPDATE: 4:45 p.m. ET April 28: The special order hour on faith and prayer scheduled for Thursday has been postponed to May 16 after Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday evening. Allen’s office reported Thursday that Allen "tested positive for coronavirus on a PCR test during a pre-travel screening for a planned trip overseas." Allen is isolating and has no symptoms.
WASHINGTON — Nearly three dozen House Republicans are slated to take to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss the importance of faith and prayer as the nation finds itself in the midst of “spiritual warfare.”
Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., and the House Republican Conference are hosting a special order hour on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday to allow members of Congress to talk about the impact prayer has on their lives.
The special hour order is taking place exactly one week before the May 5 National Day of Prayer, which falls on a day that Congress is not in session. Allen told The Christian Post that Thursday’s event will take place after the House finishes with “the business of the day" and will be streamed live on C-SPAN.
Special order hours, which usually occur after the legislative business is done for the day, are reserved by the House Democratic Caucus and the House Republican Conference to allow representatives to deliver speeches on topics of their choice.
“We have the second hour, the Democrats have the first hour,” Allen said. “Sometimes, they don’t use all their time.”
He anticipated the Republicans’ special order hour would take place in the evening, with the exact time depending on when the House concludes its business and when the Democrats finish with their special order hour.
Allen cited the current national climate as the reason why House Republicans will devote a special order hour to discuss “what prayer means to them.” He warned “this nation is in the midst of spiritual warfare.”
“The enemy’s kind of having his way with the culture right now,” Allen proclaimed. “We’re seeing church attendance drop. We’re seeing people confused, a lot of people dependent on drugs, alcohol and money.”
Allen believes many are embracing drugs, alcohol and money to fill a void in their lives intended to be filled with faith in Jesus Christ.
"We know that emotional health’s a problem. We know that a lot of people are without hope. A lot of people don’t know who they are or whose they are," Allen said.
Allen, a businessman who has served in Congress since 2015, sees the special order hour as an opportunity to remind Americans of the role Judeo-Christian values played in the founding of the U.S.
He asserts that God set this country apart.
“[John] Adams said that our Constitution is for a moral and religious people only” and that “it will do for no other," the 70-year-old politician said.
“Some people take offense to that, but again, the Constitution was written for people of virtue … [and] we have to continue to fight for that,” he added. “I believe that it’s time for people of faith to step forward in this country and to make our vote count and to put those very values that our founders put forth in the Constitution on the center stage.”
Thursday is not the first time that the House has held a special order hour devoted to talking about prayer, as a similar occasion has taken place every year at least since Allen was first elected to Congress in 2015. But this is the first one that Allen is “heading up” as chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus.
He noted that the Congressional Prayer Caucus meets “at first votes every fly-in day, and we pray for our constituents. We pray for the country, and of course, we send out cards to folks who are in need and express our thoughts and prayers to them.” The term “fly-in day” refers to the first day of the week when Congress is in session, typically a Monday or Tuesday.
A bipartisan group of 54 members from both chambers of Congress and the lieutenant governor of Montana are members of The Congressional Prayer Caucus.
About one-third of the members slated to speak at the special hour order are part of the Congression Prayer Caucus: Reps. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., Tracey Mann, R-Kan., Tim Walberg, R-Mich., Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, Mike Kelly, R-Pa., Brian Babin, R-Texas, Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Randy Weber, R-Texas and Glenn Grothman, R-Wis.
Other House members scheduled to speak Thursday are Reps. Jerry Carl, R-Ala., Barry Moore, R-Ala., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Mike Garcia, R-Calif., Scott Franklin, R-Fla., Buddy Carter, R-Ga., Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., Austin Scott, R-Ga., Mary Miller, R-Ill., Pete Stauber, R-Minn., Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., Greg Murphy, R-N.C., David Rouzer, R-N.C., Fred Keller, R-Pa., Ralph Norman, R-S.C., Diana Harshbarger, R-Tenn., Michael Cloud, R-Texas, Pat Fallon, R-Texas, John Curtis, R-Utah, Burgess Owens, R-Utah, and Bob Good, R-Va.
Allen said that the discussion of prayer on Capitol Hill extends far beyond the Congressional Prayer Caucus. He said many had been involved in Bible studies in this last session.
He praised a bipartisan Bible study that takes place on Thursday mornings, which helps organize the National Prayer Breakfast each year. Additional Bible studies Allen participates in consist solely of congressional Republicans. But he stressed that members on “the other side of the aisle” may have their own Bible studies that they participate in.
While Congress will not be in session on May 5 during the 2022 National Day of Prayer, Allen plans to spend much of the day praying.
During the National Day of Prayer, Allen will be with several of his colleagues on a trip to Israel, where he predicts they will pray for the Middle Eastern country and world peace in light of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Allen is concerned that the situation in Ukraine could “cause a worldwide famine,” adding, “We’ve got to pray that somehow we can overcome something like that.”
“Ukraine is the breadbasket of several areas over there," he said. "They produce something like 30% of the wheat. And they don’t even have decent fuel to put in their tractors right now.”
The congressman believes that with challenges facing the U.S. and the world, perseverance comes "through prayer." He contends that “through prayer, God explains his word more clearly." He said it's essential to set aside “quiet time” to immerse in God’s word.
Allen, the founder of a successful Augusta-based construction company, has a “prayer room” at his house in his home district and his home in the Washington, D.C. area. His use of the prayer rooms dates back more than two decades when he had a “spiritual awakening at 49.”
Allen’s “spiritual awakening” resulted from his daughter’s active participation in their church’s youth group, which included mission work. He recalled how his daughter inviting him on a mission with her changed his life. From there, he began to view her as “the spiritual leader of our family.”
“The day that I said ‘OK, I’m going to change the way I do things’ was Aug. 14, 2001,” Allen recounted. “All I did is say, ‘OK, Jesus is No. 1, family is No. 2, and this business is No. 3.’”
Shortly after that, Allen said he began to get up at 5 a.m. to spend time studying the Bible in his prayer room. He quickly discovered that he “couldn’t get enough of it.”
Thirteen years after his “spiritual awakening,” Allen was elected to represent Georgia’s 12th Congressional District. He maintains that “if it weren’t for my faith, I could not do this."
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org