History of the North American Prayer Breakfast
The beginning of what we think of as the modern day Prayer Breakfast began in Seattle, Washington, in 1935. Community leaders gathered to face a critical situation in the life of their city. Seattle was at that time a place known for it’s corruption and abuse of the poor. It soon became evident to these leaders that their wealth and influence alone could not meet the many challenges the city faced. To their credit a few of Seattle’s community leaders felt that they would need Spiritual resources as well. During a time when their group was away on a retreat one of the men indicated that he felt God wanted him to run for mayor of the city. After much reflection and prayer by the group he was encouraged to do so. Prayer, finances and hard organizational work brought them victory and two years later that same man (Arther Langlie) was elected Governor of the State. Out of those early meetings a new purpose was recognized; that if things were to change what was needed was more than just prayer. True Prayer was first and foremost, but then prayerful consideration had to be followed by concrete action. New power came as men believed and followed the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Because of the success of the venture in Seattle, over the following years breakfast groups sprang up in different parts of the United States. In 1941, the United States Senate and House of Representatives held their first congressional prayer breakfast. Today, this simple idea of people meeting together to find mutual encouragement and fellowship has spread to well over 100 countries around the world.
With Christ’s Spirit at the center, the idea of men and women meeting together has permeated to all levels of society. People from all walks of life are finding confidence and hope for the future by meeting in small groups and drawing closer to Jesus Christ.
When the first prayer breakfast was held more than 2000 years ago, Jesus invited his disciples to join him for breakfast on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias (John 21). At that breakfast Jesus confirmed his resurrection, demonstrated his presence with his disciples following the crucifixion, and explained the reality of a promise made earlier, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with you”. (Matt. 18:20) It was also at this breakfast that Peter was reconciled to Jesus.
The wonderful news is that Jesus is just as present to us now as he was to his disciples 2000 years ago.