On March 30, Prison Fellowship Vice President for Advocacy and Public Policy Craig DeRoche offered the closing prayer as part of the annual White House Easter celebration. It was the second consecutive year that DeRoche has been in attendance for the observance, and the first time offering the benediction.
“It is truly an honor to take part in this year’s Easter festivities,” says DeRoche. “I would like to thank President and Mrs. Obama for their invitation to come here and celebrate our Lord’s resurrection, and to pray with and for our nation’s elected officials. As we thank God for the new Hope he has given us through his Son, we remember those who have been affected by crime and incarceration, and pray that such hope is experienced by all in need of God’s forgiveness and mercy.”
UPDATE: The following is a transcript of DeRoche’s prayer at the White House:
Oh, Lord. We thank you for the gift of Easter. A gift we can’t earn and don’t deserve but a gift you have made available to each of us, regardless of who we are and what we have done. You have loved us through our failings and our sin and you sent your begotten Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for our sins that we might have this path to be restored in You.
In Christ’s rise from grave, our faith is validated. You turned guilt into forgiveness. You take our fear to give us peace. You transformed death into victory, and you took our ordinary lives and turned them into extraordinary journeys.
Lord we pray before you knowing that we are not better or worse than any other man or women you have created. We all come up short. We thank You that you judge us through mercy and grace. Today we remember Jesus’ command that we visit those in prison. We are inspired by his words on the cross to the penitent thief hanging next to Him, and in His promise that day lies our Hope. Hope in you, and Hope for our great country.
We pray today for President Obama, Vice-President Biden and the leaders in Congress and our states. We thank you for the blessing of a government selected by our citizens and pray that you guide us through this election year. We pray for those in prison today and their families. We pray for those addicted to drugs and alcohol that they might find you now. Lord we know that You are the Solution to what ails us individually and collectively in our culture and we invite you show us the path you would have us take to be a lamp attracting others to You and serve You as we work to heal this great country.
In Jesus name I offer this prayer, Amen.