WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — President Barack Obama’s speech at the 61st annual National Prayer Breakfast address used passionate language to describe his Christian faith.

At the beginning of his address in Washington, he said that the annual National Prayer Breakfast is an opportunity for the nation to come together “not as Democrats or Republicans, but as brothers and sisters and children of God… united in prayer.”

Obama’s discussion of faith became impassioned to describe that all faiths come together in America.

“As Christians we place our faith in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus Christ, but so many other Americans also know the close embrace of faith,” he said, noting that Muslims, Jews — even secular Americans — have a deep faith in America.

Obama cited Hebrews 11:6, which reads, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

The breakfast is not a White House–sponsored event — the National Prayer Breakfast leadership and congressional offices handle the invitations, and the President simply attends to speak. Obama usually shies away from policy at the breakfast — in his first four, he only briefly mentioned health care, immigration and the fiscal crisis.

After discussion of President Abraham Lincoln and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama returned to the theme of common faith among Americans:

“And most of all, I know that all Americans — men and women of different faiths and, yes, those of no faith that they can name — are, nevertheless, joined together in common purpose, believing in something that is bigger than ourselves, and the ideals that lie at the heart of our nation’s founding — that as a people we are bound together.”