Worthy Christian News » Christian » Presidential prayer team grows to more than 1 million members
by Fidelis Iyebote
March 28, 2002
WASHINGTON (BP)--Six months after Sept. 11, the Presidential Prayer Team has grown to over a million members.
It was launched Sept. 12 in Scottsdale, Ariz., by sculptor William Hunter to pray daily for President Bush, his cabinet and the nation in the aftermath of the devastating terrorist attacks. Now, six months after the tragic events that dampened the spirits of millions around the world, the Presidential Prayer Team has blossomed into 1,007,059 committed members.
The team's initial goal is to enlist at least one percent of the U.S. population -- or about 2.8 million people -- to pray daily for the government and the people, Hunter said in an interview.
Its impact has attracted the attention of President Bush and other leaders around the world, and the Web ratings service, Jupiter Media Matrix, reports that 1.1 million people have visited the intercessors' site.
Leaders of the prayer initiative seek to sign up 5.6 million steadfast intercessors after the first goal is reached. Ultimately, the Presidential Prayer Team plans to export its idea of citizens praying for their heads of state and governments to other countries, especially those in which freedom of worship is at risk, the vice-chairman of the five-man board of directors of the prayer squad, Dr. Cornell Haan, said.
"Praying for our leaders is the greatest thing we can do for our nation," Hunter said. "The effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man avails much."
Hunter traced the origin of his idea for organized prayer for the government and the nation to the trying days of the U.S. presidential election deadlock in November 2000. "Such was the controversy that the nation was so divided over the recounts of the votes, and I thought the nation and whoever won the election needed our daily prayers." Hunter's idea did not take root until after the terrorist attacks, however.
A U.S. senior citizen, Robert Webb, who was a Washington Bureau chief for the Cincinnati Enquirer in the '70s, said last Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.: "Praying daily for the government and people of a nation is the most patriotic thing any citizen could do for his country."
Webb spoke after former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's event, which marked the 30th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's historic visit to China in the coldest days of the Cold War in 1972.
Now an international communications consultant, Webb said he thought Bush "draws a lot of strength from such regular prayers. Prayer is a vital element in governance."
President Bush has spoken at various times about the impact of prayer on his life and the nation -- in similar vein as Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo. Bush has said in several public speeches and interviews that he strongly felt the impact of people praying for him and the nation around the world, and that such prayers meant a lot to him.
After the manner of Abraham Lincoln in troubled times, President-elect, George W. Bush in his speech of Dec. 13, 2000 -- shortly after a deeply divided U.S. Supreme Court declared him winner of the disputed vote -- said: "I have something else to ask all Americans. I ask you to pray for this great nation. I ask for your prayers for leaders from both parties. I thank you for your prayers for me and my family, and I ask you to pray for Vice-President Gore and his family. I have faith that with God's help, we as a nation will move forward together as one nation, indivisible."
Members of the prayer team intercede daily for the government on the basis of the nation's prayer needs circulated to them via e-mail and also made available on the organization's website: www.presidentialprayerteam.org.
2002 Copyright, Baptist Press. Used with Permission.