History of The National Prayer Breakfast

In April of 1935, nineteen business executives in Seattle, Washington, met together to face a critical situation in the life of their city. Looking for ways to deal with the tensions and fractures that often accompany public life, they turned to the 2,000- year-old story of Jesus of Nazareth – at a meal.

According to the Scriptural record in John 21, Jesus invited a few of his friends to join him on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. At this breakfast he demonstrated the power of God with an abundant catch of fish; the love of God in his reconciliation with Peter who had denied him; and the transcendent importance of gathering people to eat together, fellowship together and pray together.

As the Seattle executives continued to meet regularly, a new vision of a life of usefulness was born. Their resolve grew to serve as agents of reconciliation in their personal lives and in their business communities. A concern for the poor and oppressed people of their city and beyond developed among them.

Over the months and years that followed, as they told others of how much this small group meant to them, other breakfast groups sprang up throughout the state of Washington, southward to San Francisco, eastward to Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, and then in 1942 to Washington D.C. Here breakfast groups were founded in the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

Today, this simple idea of people meeting together for mutual encouragement and fellowship in order to find “the better way” has become the basis for small groups in over one hundred and eighty countries on every continent. With the teaching, principles and person of Jesus of Nazareth at the center, this ancient idea has spread spontaneously and at an incredibly rapid rate to meet the long felt need of men and women at all levels of society in our modern world. People are finding understanding, confidence and hope for the future through a deepening relationship with each other and Jesus and in discovering the secret of true friendship.

Friendship that fosters trust and confidence among brothers and sisters committed to the things that count most in life.