President Barack Obama urged Americans to have humility and see God in those who hold an opposing view during his speech Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C.
In a break from his usual comments on public policy issues, Obama focused his talk on biblical principles of faith as some 3,000 Christian leaders gathered at the Washington Hilton listened on.
The president marveled at the faith of Abraham Lincoln, the president who led the nation during the Civil War. Because of his faith, Lincoln was humble to acknowledge his limit in knowing God's will and "see God in those who vehemently opposed him," said Obama, who recently sworn in using Lincoln's Bible.
He encouraged participants to embody that same faith of humility.
"And our task as citizens -- whether we are leaders in government or business or spreading the word -- is to spend our days with open hearts and open minds; to seek out the truth that exists in an opposing view and to find the common ground that allows for us as a nation, as a people, to take real and meaningful action," he said.
The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly event held in Washington, D.C., on the first Thursday of February each year. The event, which brings together Christian leaders worldwide for a morning of prayer and table fellowship, is organized by a conservative Christian group called The Fellowship Foundation.
This year's prayer breakfast comes shortly after Obama took his oath to a second term in office.
"I have to say this is now our fifth prayer breakfast and it is always just a wonderful event. But I do worry sometimes that as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we've been talking about the whole time at the prayer breakfast seems to be forgotten -- on the same day of the prayer breakfast."
He added, "And so my hope is that humility, that that carries over every day, every moment."
During the non-partisan event, the president struck a tone of unity, calling for understanding among different sides.
"All we can do is live our lives in a Godly way," he said, "and assume that those we deal with every day, including those in an opposing party, they're groping their way, doing their best, going through the same struggles we're going through."
He continued speaking on unity and humility as he invoked the Golden Rule of the Bible.
"God has told us how He wishes for us to spend our days," the president told the crowd. "Love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. See in everyone, even in those with whom you disagree most vehemently, the face of God. For we are all His children."
During the National Prayer Breakfast, participants also heard a keynote address from best-selling author Dr. Ben Carson and a musical performance by internationally renown Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.