President Donald Trump has declared that the United States of America will be a great nation provided its citizens remain open to the grace of God.
Speaking Thursday at the 66<sup>th annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., President Trump spoke about the link between faith in God and national greatness.
"As long as we open our eyes to God's grace and open our hearts to God's love, then America will forever be the land of the free, the home of the brave, and a light to all nations," said Trump.
"When Americans are able to live by their convictions to speak openly of their faith and to teach their children what is right, our families thrive, our communities flourish, and our nation can achieve anything at all."
Trump also touted the religious heritage of the United States, pointing to such things as the national motto "In God We Trust" on the money and "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, adding that "throughout our history, we see the story of God's providence."
"Our rights are not given to us by man, our rights come from our creator. No matter what, no earthly force can take those rights away," stated Trump.
"That is why the words 'Praise be to God' are etched atop the Washington monument and those same words are etched into the hearts of our people. So today, we praise God for how truly blessed we are to be American."
Trump's remarks were part of the annual National Prayer Breakfast, a major DC-area event that features several members of Congress, world leaders, religious leaders, and other honored guests.
The event is derived from the weekly prayer breakfast meeting held by members of the House of Representatives during the congressional sessions.
Republican Congressman Randy Hultgren of Illinois and Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist of Florida co-chaired the 2018 National Prayer Breakfast. Rep. Hultgren explained to the attendees how the weekly meetings work.
"We eat, we sing, we share praises and prayer needs. Then one of our members shares their stories and we pray," explained Hultgren as part of opening remarks.
"We walk into that room as Republicans and Democrats, people from different generations, regions, and backgrounds. We do come in with our differences, with our strongly held views, but we always walk out with a little more understanding, more together, and more unified."
During the introduction, Rep. Crist spoke about a wrist band that he got from a doctor that had the words of the Golden Rule, in which Jesus said "do unto others as you would have done unto you."
"I wear it every day. I do so to remind myself that even in this noisy, conflicted, and sometimes acrimonious world of politics, that we want to treat everybody, everybody the way that we would like to be treated," said Crist.
"I hope you all will take this sentiment with you today when you leave, remembering how Jesus wanted all of us to live, fairly and compassionately."
In addition to Trump and the Congressmen co-chairing the event, other notable figures present included Simon Wiesenthal Center founder Rabbi Marvin Hier and Major Scott Smiley, the first blind active duty army officer in American history.