Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma took to the Senate floor to offer a prayer for the nation, asking God to help Americans curb divisiveness in the nation and “love one another” instead.
The day before the annual National Day of Prayer, Sen. Lankford addressed the upper house of Congress regarding the upcoming observance and attacks on religious believers.
“As we watch the attacks on synagogues in our country, as we watch bombings of Christians in Sri Lanka, gun battles that have erupted in churches in the United States, mosques that have been attacked, people of faith being targeted simply because of their faith it is a reasonable thing as a nation to be able to pause and say ‘how are we as this year’s theme says: loving one another?’” said Lankford.
Lankford then gave a prayer asking God for help regarding “the division in our nation, the anger, the struggle” and asking for help “to be able to see each other as You have created us and to respect You, Your wisdom and Your guidance.”
“For our first responders and our military scattered around this nation and around the world, we pray Your protection for them, pray that You would give them insight. Help them to be able to represent us well,” continued Lankford.
“For federal employees that serve our nation each day, for members of our nation, that we're finding ways to serve each other in our communities, would You help us this day to love one another and to be able to set the tone for a world that is watching us as a nation? Help us represent well You, who You have called us to be as individuals.”
Lankford’s prayer came in advance of the National Day of Prayer, an annual observance created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress.
Since 1952, every president of the United States regardless of political affiliation has signed a proclamation in celebration of the National Day of Prayer.
The theme chosen for the 2019 observance was “Love One Another,” which was taken from John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Former Southern Baptist Convention leader Ronnie Floyd, president of the National Day of Prayer, said in a statement last year that he believed “love can change America.”
“We need a baptism of love by the Holy Spirit that will immerse the entire Church of Jesus Christ in America and a baptism of love that will immerse all of America today,” added Floyd.
“From the church house to the state house and all the way to the White House, we need to learn to love one another.”
In addition to the many local gatherings across the country in observance of the National Day of Prayer, a “Bible Reading Marathon” was held on Capitol Hill in advance of Thursday.
During the marathon, the Bible was read nonstop for approximately 90 hours near the Capitol Dome, with people including Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas taking turns reading.
"Because the Bible is at the heart of America's founding principles, it should be voiced at the heart of our Federal Government, exhorting our nation to return to God's precepts," stated the website for the DC Bible Marathon.
"Therefore, it is our desire to publicly read God’s Holy Word on the steps of the nation's Capitol, every year, for ninety consecutive hours."