(U.S. President Barack Obama bows his head in prayer during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

President Barack Obama pressed for greater religious freedom in China and offered prayers for U.S. prisoners in North Korea and Iran on Thursday during remarks at an annual prayer breakfast that highlighted his Christian faith.

Obama, who attended the breakfast at a Washington hotel with his wife, Michelle, used the high profile event to renew calls for the release of two men held by U.S. adversaries in Asia and the Middle East.

“We pray for Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary who’s been held in North Korea for 15 months … His family wants him home. And the United States will continue to do everything in our power to secure his release,” Obama said.

“We pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini. He’s been held in Iran for more than 18 months, sentenced to eight years in prison on charges relating to his Christian beliefs.”