Obama at National Prayer Breakfast: Acceptance of Christ Means I Don't Fear Death

U.S. President Barack Obama bows his head in prayer as he attends the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington February 4, 2016. | (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
U.S. President Barack Obama receives applause as he takes to the lectern to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington February 4, 2016. At right is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. | (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks as he attends the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington February 4, 2016. | (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
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President Barack Obama spoke about the nature of fear and Christ's power over death before a large annual faith-based gathering in Washington, DC.

At the National Prayer Breakfast held Thursday morning in the Nation's Capital, President Obama gave a speech based off of 2nd Timothy 1:7, which reads "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

"Fear does funny things. Fear can lead us to lash out against those who are different or lead us to try to get some 'sinister other' under control," said Obama.

"Alternatively, fear can lead us to succumb to despair, or paralysis. Or cynicism. Fear can feed our most selfish impulses and erode the bonds of community. It is a primal emotion, fear."

Obama added that "my faith tells me that I need not fear death. That the acceptance of Christ promises everlasting life and the washing away of sins."

"Faith is the great cure for fear. Jesus is a good cure for fear. God gives believers the power, the love, the sound mind required to conquer any fear," continued Obama.

"And what more important moment for that faith than right now? What better time than these changing tumultuous times to have Jesus standing beside us, steadying our minds, cleansing our hearts, pointing us towards what matters?"

Hosted by the Fellowship Foundation & US Senate and House of Representatives Prayer Breakfast Groups, the breakfast took place at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

The breakfast had several prominent attendees including religious leaders, celebrities, and members of Congress. Italian singer Andrea Bocelli performed musical selections including "Panis Angelicus" and "Amazing Grace."

Republican Congressman Robert Aderholt of Alabama, co-chair for the event alongside Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas of California, gave the opening remarks for the breakfast.

"We believe that Jesus and His reconciling power of prayer is so desperately needed these days," said Rep. Aderholt to those gathered.

"What's so maddening about the place we work is that there's so much division and it prevents us from appreciating each other and from understanding the wonderful strengths that 435 unique individuals have that we all work with."

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the husband-wife producer team behind the hit TV series "The Bible" and the movie "Son of God," gave the keynote speech.

Burnett and Downey spoke about their experiences as immigrants in the United States as well as their belief in the importance of being outspoken Christians in Hollywood.

Obama also focused his speech on interfaith cooperation, stressing the commonalities between the diverse faith communities of the United States.

Obama's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast will be his last as president, as next year's National Prayer Breakfast is scheduled to take place after the 2017 Inauguration.

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