The Daily Rundown | February 06, 2013
>> want to take you and hear his comments live.
>> to the heads of state and members of congress and my cabinet, religious leaders, distinguished guests and to our outstanding speaker. to all the faithful who journeyed to our capital, michelle and i are honored to be with you this morning. before i begin, i hope people don't mind me taking a moment of personal privilege. i want to say a quick word about a close friend of mine and yours. joshua dubois. he has been at my side for work and prayer for years now. he is a young reverend, but wise in years. he worked on my staff and done outstanding job as the head of our faith -based office. every morning he sends me via e-mail a daily meditation. a snippet of scripture for me to reflect on. it has meant the world to me, despite my pleas, tomorrow will be his last day in the white house . i want to publicly thank joshua for all he has done and i know everybody joins me in wishing him all the best in his future endeavors, including getting married.
>> it says something about us as a people for 61 years now that this great prayerful tradition has endured. it says something about us that every year in times of triumph and tragedy, in calm and in crisis, we come together not as democrats or republicans, but as brothers and sisters . as children of god . every year in the midst of our busy and noisy lives, we set aside one morning together as one community. united in prayer. we do so because we are a nation ever humbled by our history. and we are ever a at the present timive to our imperfects, particularly of our president. we come together because we are a people of faith . we know that faith is something that must be cultivated. faith is not a possession. faith is a process. i was struck by a passage that was read earlier from the book of hebrews. without faith it is impossible to please god. because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and he rewards those who diligently seek him. he awards those who diligently seek him. not for one moment or one day, but for every moment. every day. as christians we place our faith in the nail-scarred hands of jesus christ . but so many other americans also know the close embrace of faith . muslims and jews, hindus and sikhs and all americans whether religious or secular have a deep abiding faith in the nation . recently i had occasion to reflect on the power of faith . a few weeks ago in the inauguration i was blessed to place my hand on the bibles of two great americans . two men whose faiths echoes today. one was the bible owned by president abraham lincoln . the other the bible owned by dr. martin luther king ,jr. as i prepared to take the sacred oath, i thought about these two men. i thought of how in times of joy and pain and uncertainty, they turned their bibles to seek the wisdom of god's word. and thought of how for as long as we have been a nation , so many of our leaders and our presidents and preachers and legislators and jurists have done the same. each one faced their challenges and fining in scripture their own lessons from the lord. as i was looking out on the crowd i thought of dr. king. we often think of him standing tall in front of the crowd and stirring the nation 's conscious with a bellowing voice and a mighty drain. i also thought of his doubts and fears. for those moments came as well. the lonely moments when he was left to confront the presence of long-festering injustice and undisguised hate. he imagined the darkness and the doubt that must have surrounded him in that birmingham jail. and the anger that surely rose up in him. the night his house was bombed with his wife and child inside. and the grieve that shook him as he eulogized those four precious girls take friend this earth as they gathered in a house of god . and i was reminded that yes, dr. king was a man of audacious hope and relentless optimism, but he was also a man occasionally brought to his knees in fear and in doubt and in helplessness. in those moments we know that he retreated alone to a quiet space so he could reflect and pray and grow his faith . i imagine he turned to certain verses we now read. i imagine him reflecting on isaiah that we wait upon the lord. the lord shall renew those who wait. they shall mount up and they shall run and not be wary and shall walk and not faint. we know that in scripture , dr. king found strength. in the bible he found conviction. in the words of god he found a truth about the dignity of man that once realized he once relinquished. we know lincoln had such moments as well. to see this country torn apart, to see his fellow citizens waging a ferocious war that pitted brother against brother, family against family, that was as heavy of a burden as any president will have to bear. he visited with troops and honored the dead day after day , week after week. you can see in the lines of his face the toll the war cost him. but he did not break. even as he buried a beloved son he did not break and as he struggled to overcome melancholy, despair, and grief, he did not break. he surely found solace in scripture . he could acknowledge his own doubts and he was humbled in the face of the lord. that i think allowed him to be a better leader. it's what allowed him in what may be one of the greatest speeches ever written in a second inaugural to describe the union and confederate soldier, both reading the sable bible and prayed to the same god, but the prayers of both could not be answered. that of neither has been answered fully. the almighty has his own purposes. and in lincoln 's eyes, the power of faith was humbling. allowing us to embrace our limits in knowing god's will as a consequence that he was able to see god in those who vehemently opposed him. today the divisions in this country are thankfully not as deep or destructive as when lincoln led, but they are real. the differences in how we hope to move our nation forward are less pronounced than when king marched, but they do exist. as we debate what is right and what is just and what is the surest way to create a more hopeful for our children and how we reduce the deficit and what tax plans we will have, how we are going make sure that every child is getting a great education and doctorate is encouraging to me that you turn out well by mom not letting you watch tv. i will tell my daughter that is when they complain. in the midst of all these debates, we must keep that same humility that dr. king and washington and all our great leaders understood at the core of true leadership. in a democracy as big and diverse as ours, we will encounter every opinion. our task as citizens whether we are leaders in business or spreading the word, to suspend our days with open hearts and open minds. to seek out the truth that exists in an opposing view and find the common ground that allows for us as a nation and a people to take real and meaningful action. we have to do that humbly for no one can know the full and encompassing mind of god and we have to do it every day and not just as a prayer breakfast. this is now our fifth prayer breakfast and it is always a wonderful event. i do worry sometimes that as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we have been talking about the whole time seems to be forgotten. on the same day of the prayer breakfast. you would like to think the shelf life wasn't so short. i go back to the oval office and i start watching the cable news networks and it's like we didn't pray. so my hope is that humility, that carries over every day. every moment. while god may reveal his plan to us in portions, the expanse of his plan is for god and god alone to understand. now we see through a glass and face-to-face, now i know in part and then shall i know even as also i am known. until that moment, until we know and are fully known, all we can do is live our lives in a godly way. and assume that those we deal with every day, including those in the opposing party, they are groping their way, doing their best. going through the same struggles we are going through. in that pursuit, we are blessed with guidance and god said the commandments are there to be followed and jesus is there to guide us and the holy spirit to help us. love the lord god with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. love your neighbor as yourself and see in everyone, even in those with whom you disagree most vehemently the face of god for we are all his children. that's what i thought of as i took the oath of office a few weeks ago and touched those bibles. the comfort that scripture gave lincoln and so many leaders throughout our history. the verses they cherish and how those words of got are there for us as well. waiting to be read any day we choose. i thought about how their faith gave them the strength to meet challenges of their time as our faith can give us strength to meet the challenges of ours. most of all, i thought about their humility. how we don't seem to live that out the way we should. every day even when we give lip service . as president sometimes i have to search for the words to console the inconsolable. sometimes i search scripture to determine how best to balance life as a president and as a husband and as a father. i often search for scripture to figure out how i can be a better man as well as a better president. i believe that we are united in these struggles. but i also believe we are united in the knowledge of a redeeming savior whose grace is sufficient for the multitude of our sins and love has never failed. and most of all i know that all americans and men and women of different faiths and those of no faith that they can name are nevertheless joined together in common purpose . believing in something that is bigger than ourselves and the ideals that lie at the heart of our nation 's founder. that has a people we are bound together. so this morning let us summon the common resolve that comes from our faith and pray to god we may be worthy of the many blessings he bestowed upon our nation . let us retain that humility not just during this hour, but for every hour. let me suggest that those of us with the most power and influence need to be the most humble. let us promise him and to each other every day as the sunrises over america that it will rise over a people who are striving to make this a more perfect union. thank you. god bless you and god bless the united states of america .
>> you heart the president, the fifth time he has done a national prayer breakfast , an annual event here in washington , d.c. and not without the predictable dig at the tone of washington . he talked about that how many time he has done it and talked about how they have open hearts and minds and literally forgotten hours later and took a dig at cable networks , but the president acknowledged he was watching the cable news. sometimes he claim he doesn't and sometimes claims he does.