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. Ben in Dallas

    Please, please, please let the man's religion be his private affair.

    Let's keep the separation of church and state alive.

    November 5, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. phyllis

    I am from the south and we know a phony when we see one. God said that in the last days that the people would be deceived and that there would be a false peace for 3.5 years. I was trusting GOD'S word during the election and am still trusting him after the election. The children of Israel demanded a king even though it was not the best thing for them. GOD allowed it and the children of Israel paid the ultimate price for that request. GOD help us to turn back to HIM for the hope we so desire.

    November 5, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. okie for obama

    I thank God that we live in a country where the "people" have a voice, and the people have spoken. Congrats President – elect Obama.
    I was driving through my small home town of 1500 people today and notice a United States Flag flying in a yard, the only thing upsetting about the Flag flying,is that it was upside down. The election is over and we need to come together, put our differences beside, and stand as one. We are the "United States of America" not the "Divided States of America." with that said, May the God Bless the USA and guide our leaders to make the right choices in the governing of "OUR" great Country.

    A concerned, but delighted US and Oklahoma Citizen

    November 5, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. Randy of Cleveland

    To all the Hillary supporters that whinned the whole time and said " Obama can't win without Hillary." Well guess what, he did!!!!! I bet you all have guns to your throats tonight lolololololololololololololololol

    November 5, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. MrMarkAZ

    At some point, the United States of Jesusland will need to wake up and read the Constitution.

    Specifically, Article VI states that there shall be no religious test for government office. And then there's that minor point that neither God nor Jesus are mentioned anywhere in the body of that august document.

    I don't begrudge Obama's right to pray, nor that of any other citizen. I do object to this being the subject of national conversation when it has absolutely no bearing on the office in question, to say nothing of the real world. It may do wonders for your perception of things, but it won't solve any of our myriad problems.

    We have a lot of damage to undo. At some point, we're going to have to start praying and start thinking.

    November 5, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. Bill

    So how is it that prayer is allowed at a political event? Thought there was suppose to be separation of church and state............

    November 5, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. MrMarkAZ

    Duh. That should have been, "stop praying and start thinking." And, apparently, proofreading.

    November 5, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  8. qck question

    If the armed forces salute the commander and chief – will Pres elect Obama salute back?

    He doesn't salute the flag... will they change the rules and not have the boys in uniform salute the president...?

    just curious my 87 yr old Dad asked that question... and he has a valid question... All Dad knows is that he went to war in WWII for Obama to have the right NOT to salute. But that action certainly doesn't sit well with that veteran....

    God is watching....

    November 5, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  9. wakeupamerica

    My Bible tells me that we are to pray for our leaders. I am very proud America elected President-elect Obama. We need to pray for him and all of our elected officials, but mostly we need to pray for unity and reconciliation in this land – domestically and internationally. We can be the change we want to see.

    November 5, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  10. cs

    After reading a lot of the comments on this site I firmly belive that our nations problims are not only hate but education as well. And the media needs to stop talking about the race of President-elect Obama unless they can get it right and ask proment black leaders why they would trash the president-elect and then say its a great day for black america when he gets elected. And for the record He is BIRACIAL. Not just Aferican-American. Not that it maters but I am a white voter and I did vote for the President-Elect as did my whole family.

    November 5, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  11. mrsb

    I am so grateful we have elected a leader who is thoughtful, well-educated and respectful of the responsibility he has asked for. We must NEVER allow the religious right to hijack an election again. May the talk radio pundits find no audience. May we be united in getting our economy going again, solving our health care crisis, finding ways to promote peace in the world and caring for a planet we continue to trash.

    November 5, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  12. R

    I did not vote for President-elect Obama. I am a woman of prayer and a strong believer in Jesus Christ. God's word says we are to pray for our leaders and those who are in authority over us that it may be well, and that we as people can live peaceful lives and prosper in the land that we live. We have so much to be grateful for in this country. Therefore it is my responsibility as a Christian to pray for President-elect Obama. Pray for wisdom, strength and the protection of him and his family, our country. And for the earlier comment of Shimmy. Don't be deceived God is with a big "G"

    November 5, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  13. Kim

    Time to come together, people.

    Yes we can.

    November 5, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  14. Andy

    Chris lighten up. As Obama said in the third debate – "Nobody is pro-abortion" – The fate of our country should not rest on a candidate's stance on abortion rights, and thank goodness Hope prevailed!

    November 5, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  15. Mary Joseph

    "The world stands in need of liberation, my Lord ...
    It HAS FELT Your power!

    That hymn aptly describes what President Obama aims to do.
    God be with him always.

    Mary Joseph
    New Delhi
    India

    November 5, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  16. gavin

    I hope that God does bless our nation and answer our prayers for righteous leaders, made so by his guidance. I hope that this is Gods way of making African Americans realize that they are AMERICANS and not a nation separate unto themselves. I hope and pray that our nation realizes that if they can convict you based on the DNA in your cells, which makes you absolutely unique on the Earth, then a child in his/her mothers womb is a unique human being worthy of protection. God help us if not.

    November 5, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  17. bill

    The first time I heard Obama speak, I knew he was the one.

    November 5, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  18. Mike

    President-Elect Obama...what a great day. The country I love has taken a giant step in growing up and putting the immature ways behind her...

    In another 25 years or so the South (where I live) will finally be changed for the better.

    Racism can't be eradicated, it must die a slow and painful death as the racist people die off.

    The younger generation is becoming less racist but there are always those who resist and they too will be racist to the day of their death but their numbers are becoming fewer and fewer.

    The younger generation also isn't so ready to buy into the myth that if you are a believer then you must be Republican.

    Thank God!!!

    November 5, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  19. Betty

    What I pray for is he changes his view on his policies and morals. When you say your a christian it should be shown in your decisions you make and I don't see that in his voting record. I pray to my lord and savior to watch over this country for the next for years and that Obama does not lead this country to liberalism. I did not vote for him and I truely believe is was not the right man for th job at this time.

    November 5, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  20. message to mccain supporters

    To you who supported John McCain: I understand that many of you are absolutely heartsick at the outcome of this election. I know because my best friend was a McCain supporter, and she's very upset.

    Please, please, just take a few days to regroup and digest this outcome, then hold your chins up and resolve to unite and support our new president-elect. Try to go forward with an open heart and open mind. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    November 5, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. craigo

    Keep religion out of politics. Jesus wouln't have voted for any of them.

    November 5, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  22. Wanted to Register Republicrat

    I voted McCain.

    With that being said, I will pray for Obama and Biden and our country. The United States was formed as a Christian Nation... our currency and Pledge of Allegiance all proclaim "One Nation Under God".

    It is not the Republican Party or the Democratic Party or there varying policies that have caused us problems. It is our inability to reach past all the labels and ideas to be able to work together and stand together as one nation, one people.

    I voted for change. I honestly believe that either candidate was going to bring change. I believe God has given us the leader we need for this season in our nation. I will pray for him and his family, for wisdom and guidance, for safety and provision.

    As for the comment made that our leaders should keep their religious beliefs to themselves... I disagree. I want to know that my president believes in something other than just his own ability and knowledge. Faith is extremely important.

    Pray... pray without ceasing. Pray that we will again be a nation undivided.

    November 5, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  23. Angel

    People like Jow are just upset because all the negative things they had believed about Obama turned out to be nothing but lies...well Keep critisizing Obama but he reached out to God and God will bless him while you still live in bitterness and hate...

    November 5, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  24. an

    For the people that are spewing hate, We are all God's children. The bible tells us that a house divided can not stand. Get over it, we are all Americas. This is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. tLike President elect Obama has said this is our time and our moment to show the world why this is the greast Country in the world.

    November 5, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. Marc Kostner

    Humanity Re-born

    A new day is born
    Faith of the planet renewed
    U.S.A. elected a new vision
    A new president
    A new hope born

    Lead on children of the world
    Hold your heads high
    Be proud of your honesty
    Work constantly
    Never again rest

    We need your strength
    The world joins you
    Hand in hand we shall work
    Re-building a better place

    Walk on slowly into this vision
    Sweat will bring sweet dreams
    Muscles for peace
    Intelligence to Guide

    November 5, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
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