WASHINGTON — U.S. Reps. Dan Boren and James Lankford wouldn't encourage their colleagues in Congress to vote for President Barack Obama — or even some of his policies.
But they do believe their fellow House members should pray for the president, and they've given them some help. The two Oklahomans, along with Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, distributed more than 430 copies of a book called “Obama Prayer: A Book of Prayers for the 44th President.”
In a letter to their colleagues, the lawmakers said they were trying to encourage “specific and thoughtful prayer” for Obama.
The book was written by Chuck Garriott, who spent 20 years in Oklahoma City as the senior pastor of Heritage Presbyterian Church in America and now lives in Washington, where he is the director of the PCA's Ministry to State and holds prayer sessions and Bible studies with leaders from around the country and the world.
Boren, D-Muskogee, first met Garriott in Washington several years ago at a prayer session hosted by former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating.
When Boren and Garriott had breakfast on Capitol Hill last summer, Boren came up with the idea of giving copies of “Obama Prayer” to the other 434 U.S. House members.
Sitting nearby was Boren's friend, Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat and the man who would later coin the term “Satan sandwich” when talking about the debt ceiling deal forged between Obama and Republican leaders.
Cleaver agreed to co-author a letter sent out with the book. And, to make it a bipartisan effort, Boren got Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, to sign on as well. Garriott donated the copies.
“All of us who have served our nation as members of the House understand the place and significance of prayer,” Boren said in a statement to The Oklahoman.
“Often times, tensions run high on Capitol Hill, and we as legislators forget that we're all fundamentally focused on improving our country's future. I joined my colleagues in distributing the book of prayers for the president as a reminder that we all have these values in common.”
Lankford, a Southern Baptist who ran a church camp for youths for several years before running for Congress, said, “It's a non-partisan issue to me to say we have a responsibility to pray for our leaders.”