Rose Garden

11:17 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, good morning.  And isn’t it a glorious day here in the Rose Garden.  To members of the Cabinet, leaders in faith and public life, and to all our distinguished guests: It’s an honor for Karen and me to be here, with all of you, as we mark this National Day of Prayer here at the White House.  (Applause.)

The Bible tells us to “persevere in prayer,” that “the prayer of the upright pleases him,” and that “in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,” we’re to present our requests to God.  And the American people do this every day.

You know, the sweetest words the President and I ever hear are the words, “I’m praying for you.”  And we hear it a lot.

But that’s really nothing new.  The American people believe in prayer.  Always have.  Prayer is the cord that runs through every era of America’s history.

In 1775, the Second Continental Congress established a day of fasting and prayer.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln urged Americans to pray, so that, in his words, “the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessing.”

And in 1952, President Harry Truman and the Congress formally established this National Day of Prayer — a time set aside each year for the American people “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.”

To celebrate this day, last year President Trump gathered faith leaders across what he would call this “nation of faith,” including many of you here today.  And in that moment, he took decisive action to ensure, in his words, that the federal government will never, ever penalize any person for their religious beliefs again.  (Applause.)

Today, President Trump will take another strong step to protect and promote Americans of faith, because in this White House, believers of every background have a champion in President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)

But in these too-divided times, what we’ll most importantly do today is to pause and to pray.  In gatherings large and small all across this nation, Americans will bow the head and bend the knee, and pray for this great country.

And when we pray, we’ll pray with confidence — confidence in the great people of this nation, confidence in our values, and confidence that, just as He has always done through the long and storied history of this nation, He will once again hear from heaven, and heal this land — this one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  (Applause.)

And now I have the privilege to share a verse today, as many others will.  You know, over the mantle of our home, for nearly 20 years, has been a Bible verse that speaks of a promise our little family has claimed and Americans have cherished through the generations.

In Jeremiah 29, verse 11, we read: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

To Americans near and far, thank you for joining us in this National Day of Prayer.  And God bless you all.  (Applause.)

END

11:22 A.M. EDT