WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – “We have a new speaker and God has chosen him,” exclaims Rita Warren.
In fact, Warren says she’s been praying for Congressman Ryan to become “Speaker Ryan” for the last two years.
The 86-year-old Fairfax, Va., resident spent Thursday celebrating the 45-year-old Wisconsin congressman’s speakership on the steps of the Capitol.
Warren, who proudly goes by “Jesus Lady,” has been a fixture near the Capitol for nearly 40 years. She blares spiritual music and displays signs showing her children, a Jesus mannequin and collages of biblical characters.
As congressmen walk by, Warren whoops hellos and offers quick blessings.
On the day of Speaker Ryan’s election, the spry octogenarian was exceptionally jubilant.
Hearing Speaker Ryan’s name, Warren smiles broadly, “I love him.”
Without prompting, Warren excitedly recalls being inspired to pray for Paul Ryan starting in 2013, saying, “I went home, I had a little book and wrote down ‘Paul Ryan.'”
The evangelist, who still “lobbies” for Christian values and shares stories of escaping Nazis in Italy, spent the next two years praying for Rep. Ryan to be elected to the House’s top job.
“The Almighty told me he’s going to be the speaker of the House,” says Warren.
Today, Warren feels her prayers were well-placed.
Speaker Ryan is installed as Congress’ most powerful member, and Warren will continue to set up shop in her usual spot each Tuesday to greet lawmakers and preach the gospel.
In fact, next time Speaker Ryan chimes his usual, “God bless you, Rita,” Warren plans to remind the new speaker that she’s still praying for him — and all 434 of his House colleagues.