November 5th, 2008
07:05 PM ET
5 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. Obama 2008

    And, you are not ignorant "Joe"?? Please can the Rev. Wright thing... As you can plainly see, IT DID NOT WORK!!!

    November 5, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  2. Michell in Florida

    Congratulations Mr President, May GOD continue to bless you and your beautiful family.

    November 5, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. No Joke

    I still think he'd be a better Presidential Candidate in Kenya.

    November 5, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  4. gomsu

    I agree with "Jacked-UP", the people that were yelling white power and booing during the concession speech are just pure ignorant. It sends a message to those countries who are presently Anti-U.S. that there are Americans who are more preoccupied with color and social standing before safety of countrymen.

    There is the hope though that maybe Obama will somehow put a small dent in this barrier that our country has for so long struggled with.

    November 5, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  5. linda from South Dakota

    congradulations barack,, you will be the best president we ever had,,,my prayers are always with youin this time of tension,, we as americans are here for you,,,thanks you for workin for us,,and gettin our american bac on track,, dont give up, the road is long and there will be trials and tribs,, but you are the one who can do it,, with bidens help,, yes we can,,

    November 5, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. Vegas

    My Congrats to Obama...

    I think it's also great that Rasicm died today...

    Let's put the ugly behind us and work together... this campaign really polarized the nation... getting past that will be job one.

    Again... Historical Day for many, many reasons...

    November 5, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  7. John C.

    I love this country. God bless America, and thank god our national nightmare is over. New energy, new jobs, new philosophy...NEW DEAL!

    Obama 2008 & 2012!

    November 5, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  8. BRM

    The crooks, racists, ignorant, sick and fake people are Joe and Sick. YOU should be ashamed of yourselves for putting out such words of hatred after having watched a nation come together after such a historic evening. Shame on you. You definitely don't put our country first.

    Thank God for Obama. A man I am finally proud to call My President.

    November 5, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  9. cyrusk

    PRIVEATLEY EVERYBODY IS ENTITLED TO HAVE HIS RELIGOIUS BELIEFS, THAT INCLUDES PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. BUT IT WOULD BE WRONG, MISLEADING AN HYPOCRITICAL TO INJECT "GOD" OR ANY OTHER ENTITY INTO POLITICS. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES HAS CLEARLY SAID THAT, BY SEPARARING RELIGION FROM GOVERNMENT.

    GEORGE BUSH WENT TO FAR BY ADVOCATING HIS RELIGIOS BELIEF OPENLY. THAT WAS WRONG AND A MISTAKE. PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES SHOULD NOT TRY TO PLAY THE ROLES OF "AYATULLAHS" AND " CARDINALS".
    THE GOVENMENT OF UAS IS A CIVIL FORM, NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY RELIGIOUS FORM. AT THE SAME TOME OUR GOVERNMENT PROTECT OUR RIGHT TO PRACTICE ANY FORM OF BELIEF., THAT INCLUDES ATHEISM AGNOSTISIM. SOME OF THE FOUNDERS OF OUR COUNTRY, LIKE THOMAS JEFFERSON DID NOT BELIEVE IN CHRISTIANIT. THOMAS PAYNE WAS ANOTHER.

    SO LET US HOPE THAT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA WILL KEEP HIS RELIGIOUS BELIEF PERSONAL AND PRIVATE.

    November 5, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  10. Nikiya Simpson

    Why can't we just come together as a country and stop being so divided. We need eachother and this country needs to heal and move on. I didn't like Bush, but I prayed for him. Instead of complaining, why don't we try lifting eachother up. There is stuff I can say about people talking about our new president-elect, but I'm not going to do that. I'm confident in God, and I know prayer works. Lets just pray for all our leaders and our country and for each other.

    November 5, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Denise

    Obama, you can do it and we will be praying with you, for you and the country. Last night was beautiful it was what America needed. Images of all nationalities melting together in celebration. We live in the best country in the world and we are a blessed nation.

    November 5, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. rusty

    To those who still want to spew their hate and distrust of Obama to the rest of us, I say stand in front of a mirror and spew all you want, because nobody else wants to hear it. We choose to pray for our new President, and his family.

    November 5, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  13. Another Progressive Christian for Obama

    That Obama took time out to pray with a fellow believer is a very, very good sign.

    The "Christian right" (which is neither Christian nor right) has made many people afraid to hear anything at all of a leader's religious beliefs. However, the truth of the matter is that you have nothing to fear from a real Christian in office. Why? Because a real Christian...

    -understands that any authority on earth is given for the purpose of service and stewardship, not for selfish pleasure or selfish satisfaction.

    -sees that if God has given man free will, to act according to His statutes *or not* as they see fit, no earthly leader should impose what he understands as God's will on people who don't believe.

    -has a basis for centering himself, and handling his own problems so that they don't escalate and harm his ability to lead.

    The next four years are going to be good medicine.

    November 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. Sandy

    Sick, you are Sick you have no heart. Obama you are Blesses in more ways than you know, my prayers to you, the people and the world.

    November 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. aware

    Dr. Joel Hunter is big picture person – meaning big secular institution! He is a guy who discovered how to make church pay big dividends! Mr Hunter, I have met! :(

    November 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. julio

    Congratulations president elect Obama. although I did not vote for you, I pledge you my full support. I'm sure you will do a fine job.

    November 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  17. Sheri in Louisville, KY

    Congratulation President Elect Obama. I believe that you are the right man for the job and we are praying for you and your family.

    YES WE CAN

    November 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  18. Trixie

    May God Bless the USA, our new President Elect, his beautiful family and all of us who can see beyond the boundaries we had been forced to live in.

    (P.S.: God, please help those who cannot help themselves while they wallow in the hatred and spite. Thanks!)

    November 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  19. ADDTTR

    Well as all the African Americans have shown, they only support their own. Why did this turn out to be a majority black voter turnout? They have nothing better to do but complain how the govt keeps them from succeeding in every way. Lets see what this Democrat will do?

    November 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  20. Ethan

    This "godless liberal" from "fake America" prayed and prayed all last week and thanked God last night for finally FINALLY granting us with leadership we can trust and believe in in these hard times. The fraudulent veil of the Republican-based "culture wars" has been lifted. We are ALL Americans, we are all religious or spiritual in our own right, and that's the way it should be. We all won last night.

    November 5, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  21. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    YES WE CAN!!!!!

    erm, i mean, YES WE DID!!!!!

    November 5, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. Setys

    Please, all President Obama's supporters let us all work together with the republicans by praying and fasting for God to touch their hearts, so that they will all work and join us to pray for the success of President Obama and Vice President Biden.

    We should all be patient with McCain supporters, and give due respect to Senator McCain.

    If President Obama's supporters indulge in insults against Senator McCain's supporters, how are we going to have pure heart to pray and fast to God for the success of our new President?

    We have to pray and fast seriously for President Obama, and we see the difference in this nation and around the world in the next year. If we all carry out this mission, the economy will be fix, several opportunities will fall in place, there will be peace around the world, the war will be over.

    Nations in this world will seek peace with each other, there will be peace in this world. We need to pray and fast for the new elect president for God's guidance, in order for this country to be better again.

    There is power in prayer and fasting.

    November 5, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. Tom

    ha ha ha ha ha. Coward.... typical Liberal "moderation". These posts are a perfect example of a bunch of liberal "christions" who don't have a clue. Bite the bullet and Obama too.

    November 5, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. WIlly Brown

    Jimmy Carter II.

    November 5, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  25. Jennifer

    If you are going to pray and ask God for guidance, then you should at least follow his Word. Obama supports the killing of unborn children. How does that fit into Christianity? Even with that said, we are commanded to pray for our leaders which is what I will do.

    November 5, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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