What’s With All the Prayer Breakfasts?


Tradition. The prayer breakfast got started in mid-1930s Seattle, where traveling preacher Abraham Vereide held morning meetings for politicians and businessmen to pray about—and try to combat—poverty and the spread of communism. He decided on breakfast due to the Christian tradition of morning prayers and, it’s said, as a nod to John 21—wherein Jesus appears to his disciples in the early morning by the Sea of Tiberias and helps them catch fish. Breakfast was also practical, since 7 or 7:30 a.m. meetings didn’t interfere with the workday or with family obligations in the evening.”

That seems to go well with the notion that true religion is useful. After all, like my mother always said, breakfast is brain food.  She was a school-teacher. She was supposed to say that.

But does confessional Protestantism really think that true religion is good for everything from wiping out poverty to Pinko’s? It seems to me that things like National Prayer Breakfasts are good for wiping out Protestant ecclesiology specifically and doing serious damage to true religion generally.

This entry was posted in Church and State, Civil religion, Two-kingdoms. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to What’s With All the Prayer Breakfasts?

  1. Rick says:

    I’m hungry.

    Prayer breakfast: Empty stomach + grogginess = easily persuaded.

    It’s how they get people to do things and be all emotional about it.

  2. Zrim says:

    I could be enticed to one though. Depending on what gets served, I’m a sucker for red meat. I’m very weak. Or would red meat be anathema? After all, if it is based in John 21 they ate white meat, not red. I like white meat, too. I’m very weak.

  3. Chris Sherman says:

    Seems like prayer breakfasts could be kind of messy. Praying, eating, praying it could get confusing. Do you think prayer happy hours might draw more people?

  4. Todd says:

    Speaking of the silliness that is modern evangelicalism, you all have to check this out:

  5. Zrim says:

    Mmmm, red meat and cocktails. This is going from breakfast to dinner.

  6. Zrim says:


    Stereotypes are cool. Very “The Office” and “30 Rock.” Thanks.

  7. I love silly church videos. You inspired me, Zrim. Enjoy.

  8. Mark says:

    I don’t see how a prayer breakfast threathens protestant ecclesiology.

    Granted, they might be to transformalistic and all, but praying midweek with fellow christians is very much possible without trying to minimize or ignore the ecclesological en theological differences yoy may have with them. It isn’t church and as long as that is remembered is I don’t see the problem.

    But then again, may be I’m ill informed.

  9. Zrim says:


    To my mind, the problem here isn’t so much ecumenical relations as it is civil religion. Thus the tages associated with this post. Civil religion depends on undermining ecclessiology.

  10. Zrim says:

    Al, I don’t get it. Todd’s clip was “The Office,” yours is “America’s Funniest Home Video’s.”

  11. Greg says:


    For some time, the very existence of Evangelicalism has been questioned, i.e., what is it that actually unites “Evangelicals”? I think you’ve identified something… (prayer) breakfast!

    But alas! I fear division already: those who won’t eat yokes, or won’t eat meat, or no white toast, etc. Maybe a virtual prayer breakfast would be better… unity by separation.

  12. dgh says:

    What about the Dutch prayer breakfast? In the Netherlands luncheon meats come with the pastries, cereal, yogout, and toast. Put some roast beef and smoked turkey on the buffet and I’m there.

  13. Zrim says:

    Turkey has tryptophan. That’s not good for rallying troops (nor is red meat & cocktails). Like water, bread and wine it’s good for satisfaction and contentment. Save me a seat.

  14. dgh says:

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Trptophaaaaaaaaan.

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