Roots in the United States of America
During WWII, the Members of the US Congress had to decide whether or not to enter the war with all its consequences. Some wanted to find out if prayer could help them in their decision. They agreed to meet for breakfast, in an informal setting and across all boundaries of political party and religious denomination, in order to seek God’s help and encourage each other personally. Those meetings have proven to be so beneficial that they continue to this day, in the US, in Germany, and in many other countries. They still are held in private, and have been precedent to numerous similar events. Once a year, Members of the US Congress from these breakfast groups issue an invitation for a “National Prayer Breakfast” in Washington, D.C. The President and the Vice President, government members and parliamentarians as well as renowned representatives from the 50 states of the US attend this important annual event. Furthermore there are foreign guests from more than 100 countries. A video of this event is available here .
Beginnings in Stuttgart and Bonn
In 1979, German politicians were invited to attend the “National Prayer Breakfast” in the United States. During the term of office of Erwin Teufel, then chairman of the Christian Democrats in the Baden-Wuerttemberg state parliament and later on the Minister-President of the same federal state, a first German breakfast meeting was established there. The “founding fathers” were, among others, Rudolf Decker (Christian Democrats) and the late Dr Hermann Precht (Social Democrats), both Members of the Baden-Wuerttemberg state parliament. Emulating the Stuttgart model, some Members of the German Bundestag established a similar format in Bonn in 1981. Ever since then, Members of the German Bundestag have been gathering regularly for cross-party, interdenominational meetings with an exchange of ideas and prayer.
The Stiftung für Grundwerte und Völkerverständigung (Foundation for Basic Values and International Understanding), and its founding body, the Vereinigung zur Förderung der Völkerverständigung e.V. (Association for the Promotion of International Understanding) has been based in the German capital of Berlin since 1996. Their “headquarters” is located near the Brandenburg Gate at Pariser Platz. This close proximity to the Reichstag building was one of the main reasons for choosing this venue and made possible with the help of several sponsors.