Prayer Breakfast FAQs

History of the Iowa Prayer Breakfast

Where and when did the Prayer Breakfast begin?
The Iowa Prayer Breakfast continues to be a long-standing tradition where Iowa's Governor, legislators, community and religious leaders join with the public to ask God's direction and blessing upon our State. Started by Des Moines Mayor Reinhold Carlson in 1961, Iowans have continued this beloved tradition for over 50 years, gathering every Maundy Thursday. To widen the scope of the breakfast, the name was changed to the Governor's Prayer Breakfast, a name that continued until 1989, when the name was changed to the Iowa Prayer Breakfast. In 2003, the Committee filed Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws and was granted a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) designation.

What is the Prayer Breakfast?
People from all walks of life come to enjoy this Maundy Thursday celebration with the reading of the Scriptures, local vocalists and musicians, an inspiring message from a selected keynote speaker and, of course, prayer for our State. A hearty breakfast is served and Iowans enjoy the company of friends and colleagues as the Easter weekend celebration begins. Doors open at 6:45 a.m., the event begins at 7:15 a.m., and concludes by 8:45 a.m. so attendees can be at the office in good time.

Who is the Breakfast Committee?
The Prayer Breakfast Committee is composed of volunteers from the legislature and business arena who meet each year to organize, raise money, secure an excellent speaker, and promote the Iowa Prayer Breakfast.

How is it funded?
Small business owners, corporations, churches, and private citizens fund the Iowa Prayer Breakfast, which operates as a 501(c)(3) corporation (approval received November 20, 2003) through tax-deductible donations.

Who attends the breakfast?
The breakfast is open to the public. Friends, co-workers, book clubs, pastors and staff, the business community, students, teachers, the Governor, heads of state, legislators, US Senators, and US Congressman have supported this event.

Do students attend?
High school and college students have been a part of the Easter celebration for many years. The cost of admission for students at the breakfast is $10 for college students and younger.

Each year the committee works to find excellent speakers, often in current headlines, who can share an inspirational message. Some are proven leaders, others have changed their communities for the better, and others have come from tragedy to triumph, but all share the Christian faith that we celebrate at Easter time. Click Here to view past speakers.

Who was the Keynote Speaker for 2016?
We were blessed to have Dr. Alveda King as our keynote speaker in 2016. Dr. King currently serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God's forgiveness, and healing.The daughter of the late civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King and his wife Naomi Barber King, Alveda grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her family home in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed, as was her father's church office in Louisville, Kentucky. Alveda was jailed during the open housing movement. She sees the prolife movement as a continuation of the civil rights struggle.

Who is the 2017 keynote speaker?
Dr. Joseph Stowell will be the keynote speaker at the 2017 Iowa Prayer Breakfast. More information on Dr. Stowell can be found on the home page.

Who provides the music?
Iowa is blessed with talented vocalists and musicians who never fail to amaze us with an Easter anthem.

What time does it begin?
The Breakfast begins promptly at 7:15 a.m., doors open at 6:45 a.m. Through music, Scripture reading, an inspiring message, and a hearty breakfast, Iowans will be strengthened as we observe Easter weekend.

How long does it last?
The breakfast is over by 8:45 a.m. so those attending can make it to the office in good time.

The Breakfast is always held on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter weekend).

In order to accommodate the large crowd, the venue for the 2017 Iowa Prayer Breakfast will be the Ballroom of the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center, formerly known as Veterans Auditorium.

What does it cost?
Adults are $25 and college students and younger are $10.

Do I need to register in advance?
Yes. Reservations are always a good idea, as the event is attended by anywhere from 400 to 1,400 people. Registering online is convenient and will secure your admittance with a ticket you print off to be scanned at the door.

How do I make reservations?
We have online registration at our website which allows you to purchase tickets using Eventbrite. Over 1,200 invitations will also be mailed which include an RSVP card. For registration questions please email: