Arthur F. Burns (1904-1987), the chairman of the United States Federal Reserve System and ambassador to West Germany, was a man of considerable gravity, Medium in height, distinguished, with wavy silver hair and his signature pipe, he was economic counselor to numerous presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan. When he spoke, his opinion carried weight and Washington listened.
Arthur Burns was also Jewish, so when he began attending an informal White House group for prayer and fellowship in the 1970's he was accorded special respect. No one knew quite how to involve him in the group and, week after week when different people took turns to end the meeting in prayer, Burns was passed by out of a mixture of respect and reticence.
One week, however, the group was led by a newcomer who did not know the unusual status Burns occupied. As the meeting ended, the newcomer turned to Arthur Burns and asked him to close the time with a prayer. Some of the old-timers glanced at each other in surprise and wondered what would happen. But without missing a beat, Burns reached out, held hands with the others in the circle, and prayed this prayer:
"Lord, I pray that you would bring Jews to know Jesus Christ. I pray that you would bring Muslims to know Jesus Christ. Finally, Lord, I pray that you would bring Christians to know Jesus Christ. Amen"