November 5th, 2008
07:05 PM ET
6 years ago

Praying with the President-elect

Before stepping on stage Tuesday night to address his supporters; the nation; and to a certain extent, the world, Sen. Barack Obama took a moment to pray with a conservative evangelical pastor.
Before stepping on stage Tuesday night to address his supporters; the nation; and to a certain extent, the world, Sen. Barack Obama took a moment to pray with a conservative evangelical pastor.

(CNN) - Before he delivered his victory speech on Tuesday night in Chicago, President-elect Barack Obama took a call and bowed his head in prayer. Dr. Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland Church in Orlando, Florida and Otis Moss Jr. from Mount Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio joined him in that prayer.

Speaking with CNN today by phone, Dr. Hunter says the prayer was intensely personal and private but did say “I prayed for his family and for him and for the country. I had no agenda other than trying to create an environment in which he felt the presence and could receive wisdom from God.” Dr. Hunter, a conservative evangelical who delivered a prayer at the Democratic National Convention this summer, says the President-elect “…feels the weight of this responsibility. He [Obama] doesn’t take upon himself of having to have all the answers but he certainly realizes the huge challenges this nation faces. He feels the personal weight of the potential to guide us through these difficult times. I don’t think he’s oppressed by it though.” Dr. Hunter says he thinks it set in for Obama last night and led to the sober tone of the victory speech.

Evangelicals have long been a force in American politics but many wondered with the defeat of Sen. John McCain what role they will play in the Obama administration. Eric Sapp is one of the founders of The Eleison Group which works specifically with Democratic campaigns to mobilize Christian voters he says, “There is a new generation of white evangelicals. They are less partisan and it all plays to Barack Obama’s favor.” Sapp puts Hunter in that category and thinks the Obama administration will be inclusive of evangelicals. “I think it’s an early indication of the way he’s going to govern. For something as personal as who he wants praying for him is a good indicator of how he wants to be president.”

For Hunter, it wasn’t the first time the two men had prayed together and says the prayer before Obama's speech Tuesday night was in keeping with the next president's character, “Obama is a big picture person. His big picture includes God and he wanted to do that as it’s just the right thing to do at that moment.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (256 Responses)
  1. Mark Baker-Wright

    I would hope that Christians of all ideologies can agree to pray for Obama, and for his safety and the safety of his family.

    November 5, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Texas Teacher

    I suspect that Obama IS a Gift from the Creator. In this time of sorrow that the Bush Camp and the Republican party has brought to this Nation, it is good to give thanks for the chance for change that Barack Obama has brought. We have HOPE again.... "The Audacity of Hope"!

    God Bless, Barack Obama and the United States of America. Now the healing begins.

    November 5, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Oblio

    We are blessed. God bless you, President Obama.

    November 5, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. Jill

    He will need lots of prayer and I will be praying for him. He's a good man and deserves our support.

    America is smiling once more. Well, some of us anyway. I hope the others will come around.

    November 5, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. OHIO FOR OBAMA

    THANK GOD. THANK GOD. MAY GOD BE WITH HIM AND HIS FAMILY.

    CONGRADULATIONS PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA.

    November 5, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. JACKED-UP-POLITICS, FLORIDA

    Prayer is surely needed. I will give McCain credit for his concession speech but as for some of the goons in the audience, it is just pure hate.

    Them and people like them are the reason's why this country is in such shambles and divided the way that we are but thank goodness there are so many others who are looking at the broader scope. Cmon folks take off the blinders and lets unite together because as a country, other country's are looking at how we prevail and work through this.

    November 5, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  7. Cynthia - Arkansas

    Obama is a good Christian man. He has had so many people praying for his safety and guidance. I have prayed through this whole campaign that "no weapon formed against him would prosper". My prayers have been answered. God has smiled on America again!

    November 5, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. Barbara CA

    My mom always told me that prayer changes things and I see that this is true. Whether we are republican or democrat let's continue to pray for our leaders and for the right change for our country. "Prayer changes things."

    November 5, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  9. Sick

    He's a fake and we are in trouble.

    November 5, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  10. FreeNLovIt

    Dear Obama,

    Go watch a biography on President Lincoln. He had a law degree, became a State Senator, lost the Senate Seat, but became the President of the United States.

    AFter inauguration, he went through six weeks of hell.

    November 5, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. FreeNLovIt

    Dear Obama,

    You will be in my prayer.

    November 5, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. Bobby

    Obama's desire to reach out to evangelicals displays his willingness to unite people towards a common goal.

    November 5, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  13. 30-m-PA-Democrat-voted McCain

    I missed Obama's speech. Was Rev. Wright there praying alongside of Obama?

    November 5, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  14. David

    Thank you for this piece.

    The nation and all those ready to pounce and criticize and condemn and throw racial and bigoted slurs open your eyes and take notice-Obama prayed with Christian-Evangelicals before his speech.

    Rise above the pettiness that you may feel because Senator McCain lost the election and become a bigger person and realize that this nation needs all of us to stand up and be what the symbolism of what America is around the world- a place of hope and where dreams are made and lived.

    We need to move beyond our desire to lash out at President-Elect Obama and be true to the American Spirit-we need to move beyond our humanity and allow our godly spirits to move us and help us move forward to rebuild our fractured nation.

    God Bless!

    November 5, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  15. joe

    what a crock. obama wanted to pray with his racist preacher wright. americans who voted for obama will soon find out how ignorant they are

    November 5, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  16. Lisa, MD

    Amen !!! Gods will shall be done !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 5, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  17. To President Barack Obama

    President-elect- barack Obama,
    Thank you for your dedication to this country. We needed so much to come together as country. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Sen. John McCain..You too sir have dedicated your life to this country and we thank you. May God bless both of your families.

    November 5, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. California Gold

    Millions are also praying for our President Elect, his family, the work ahead of him and the country. Prayers also for healing after this election cycle. I've read some posts that reveal the hurt and upset out there. Feelings need to be honored, then healing must occur.

    November 5, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. June W

    Because Barack Obama cares so much about his country it's no surprise that the responsibilities would weigh heavy on his shoulders. However, from what I have seen and heard of this brilliant young man, he will perform his duties with the same thoughtfulness, decisivness and fairness he has shown throught his campaign.

    November 5, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. big daddy

    I WILL ALSO PRAY FOR MR OBAMA AND MR BIDEN EVERY DAY ..

    November 5, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. FreeNLovIt

    When I had concerns about the future, God gave me these verses from Jeremiah 29v4

    This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Build houses and settle down, plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters, ... also seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper...

    November 5, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. JP Los Alamos, NM

    Prayer is good as long as you don't wait too long for the answer.

    November 5, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. Joel Miller

    Everybody should pray for the President elect and the country. Christian, evangelical, Muslim, Jew...we are all part of the same Oneness and all our prayers will be heard.

    November 5, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. Rebecca

    I'm a lifelong Democrat and a devout Christian and I am blessed to hear that President-elect Obama wanted prayer, wanted that moment with God. I hope that my brothers and sisters in Christ who did not vote for him, will come to know him as a prayerful man of faith and one who knows he needs God now and forever. I'm so happy to hear that there are evangelicals who are less partisan. Thank you for reporting on this – I wish it would run on a newscast so others could hear the good news.

    November 5, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  25. ***No longer lost in the fog***

    This is the way real christians hold valves. It is best for all of us to go back to "Prayer 101" and realize how far away from the gospel we have slid. The Bible states "The Lord is my shepherd, I SHALL NOT WANT..." You DON'T pray for SOMETHING, you pray for "His will to be done".

    November 5, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
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