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The National Prayer Breakfast began because of a friendship.  When General Eisenhower was elected President in 1952 and moved into the White House in 1953 he found it a rather lonely place.  He called his friend, Senator Frank Carlson, and the Senator told him that the place where he had found friends in D.C. was in the weekly Senate Prayer group.  That led to the President agreeing to meet with the group and as the word spread about 300 men and women from the Hill and other government leaders joined the breakfast.  They came together to pray for the President and for each other as leaders of the country.

The experience of meeting together to pray for one another was so meaningful that they continued this early in the beginning of each year with the President in attendance.  Over the years the breakfast has grown in size. The Members of Congress wanted to include some of their friends to join in praying for them and the country.  And as the idea of leaders meeting in this spirit spread to the states and other countries many others came to be part of this unique event. Thus in the years since the beginning in 1953 the attendance has grown from the small gathering of 300 to a much larger number of attendants.

Even with the attendance now being nearly 3,000 the purpose has not changed.  This is still a time for many leaders to meet relationally, to share concerns and to pray together for the benefit of our nation and the nations of the world.

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National Prayer Breakfast Participants 1953-2024
National Prayer Breakfast Participants 
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