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. Mike

    I would not have voted for Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, but when I first heard Barack Obama speak I knew that he would be president one day. I kept my eye on him and nothing I ever heard swayed my opinion of the man or his politics. I, too, was upset by the Rev. Wright issue, but I had full understanding that this was not who Barack Obama was and was not how he thinks.

    November 5, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  2. B from Seattle

    To the people on this blog that doubt the capabilities of Barack Obama. You are right about the credentials he lacks for the position he now sits in. However, there have been many people across this nation that have overcome great obstacles and cynicism, only to become great at what they do. God ABSOLUTELY exists and this is not the first time (nor the last) that he will show himself to be real – The Bible calls it "favor".

    To "***No longer lost in the fog***, you are right we are to pray for God's will…His word also states that when we pray the Holy Spirit interprets our prayers so that we are always praying His will. His word teaches us to pray without ceasing. His word also says "You do not have, because you did not ask". All prayer is good.

    Let us all be clear Barack Obama is not Jesus, and just as previous presidents have needed prayer, so will he.

    As for all the hatred I hear on this blog, I believe it is safe to say none of you are black. Until you have walked in the shoes of an oppressed race, you will never be able to fully understand the magnitude of this election. Your comments only shine light on the intense work still left to be done. Last, but not least to my fellow blogger, "nogods", I am sorry you do not yet believe. The Lord's word says "Draw near to me, and I will draw near to you". He is not a fictional or mythical character, try Him with your heart and you will see! I promise.

    November 5, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  3. Mike

    Ignore the hate...these people can't be reasoned with. They think Obama is part of a plt to overthrow the government from the inside. They are not the conservative base, they are radical fringe people who lack intelligence and logic. I know...sounds ridiculous, but that's what they really believe...stop trying to get them to work with us, they won't. In a year, when they are proven wrong, they will quietly go away (until the next election). Just ignore them, as they are a very, very small part of our society. The majority of us know that this is a tremendous change, and that our country and the world will be better off because of our choice. We have voted for change, for peace, and for a better society for everyone.

    November 5, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. Commonwealth

    John Gleason, I believe you mean 'isn't that special'? :) Regarding the remainder of your post...I think your boy W brought the criticism on himself and while we're at it I suppose all the hate-filled things coming from 'your people' against President Clinton was perfectly OK? You all just can't STAND it when somebody throws it back in your faces, can you? It's that very arrogant double standard that drove me away from the Republican party in the first place.

    BrightAura–we were just discussing the same thing only a few minutes ago. I thought your post was very eloquent and true.

    November 5, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. Capital Peach

    I see the thugs are still clinging to their bitterness. I almost feel bad for them, but I can't take that kind of negative energy in my life. So I will say that I'm praying for President Elect Obama and our nation. I think he will do a Great job.

    November 5, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  6. Clarencej

    I'm a republican and i voted for president-elect but most of all i think that we need to pray for him from this time forward. He needs our support and prayers cause of what he's facing he's going to need GOD help!!!!!!

    November 5, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. KG

    I pray Obama does not allow the extremely liberal left (Pelosi/Reed) to begin ruling his Presidency. I pray he understands the need to balance fiscal conservatism with social liberalism, learns to balance economic growth with an acceptable tax rate on everyone, understands the need for our national security, and most of all, understands the need to govern for all the people (and not just the left). If he can do these things, he will be a leader of all the people in the US, not just some, and he will be successful.

    November 5, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  8. Renee

    I have reviewed the comments posted. Where there appears to be differing opinions regarding the separation of church and state remember this .. this country was founded by our fore fathers who believed in God. Therefore it was never their intent to not pray, if you read history you will find that they prayed collectively.

    Regardless of whether or not you voted for Barack Obama it is time that we come together and support him as we have others in the past.
    We face many challenges as a nation and we are commanded to pray for those who have authority over us. They surely need God's guidance.

    This is a time of hope, healing and unity.

    November 5, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    As an EVANGELIST, who DO not believe that witch craft is better then abortion.........At least he didn't call the WITCH CRAFT PASTOR.

    All the talk about abortion's that is one's rights to decide privately with GOD about an abortion, HAD and HAS nothing to do with my family struggle with the lousy financial economy woes that most of us endure DAY after DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Congrads President Obama!!!!!!!!!

    November 5, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. Michele

    I think I have a case of "perma-smile" today. My heart feels so full and I have never been so proud to be an American as I am today. I am so proud to be a part of making history. Several years from now when my little girl is in school and studying this moment in text books I can pull out the old newspaper clippings and share with her that I helped make it happen. :-) I think that Obama will go down as one of America's great presidents and I think that he will really be able pull the country together in this time of crisis. May God Bless America and may God Bless Mr. Obama and his beautiful family!!!!!

    November 5, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  11. michael MA

    President-elect Obama has a profound respect for the needs of all people, has no tolerance for fear mongers, and is humbled by the power of a higher authority – his Lincolnesque qualities will stand out and position him as one our greatest leaders of all time.

    November 5, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  12. Robert

    Well I guess GOD isn't a Republican after all. I wonder – I just wonder – if he's actually above the pettiness of us pitiful humans ...

    November 5, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  13. Horatio

    I guess it's time people figure out better ways of preventing things from happening to you that you don't agree with morally or religiously. I have a thought – if you don't like it, don't do it! Don't like having sex with the same gender, then stop having sex with someone of the same gender. Problem solved. Dang that was easy; I sure wish fixing our economy was so simple.

    November 5, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  14. PARKER

    WHY IS IT THAT THIS SO CALLED "UNITED" STATES OF AMERICA DOESNT HAVE A PROBLEM PRAYING WITH THE PRESIDENT ELECT BUT IT CANT BE DONE IN OUR SCHOOLS? I DONT BELIEVE IN THIS SO CALLED "GOD" THAT ALL OF YOU BELIEVE IN I BELIEVE IN SOMEONE THAT I KNOW I CAN TRUST AND THAT IS MYSELF! I DONT THINK OBAMA IS GOING TO BE A GREAT PRESIDENT I DONT EVEN THINK HE WILL BE A GOOD PRESIDENT! THE USA IS GOING DOWN HILL FROM HERE. EVERYBODY THINKS THAT RUSSIA IS A COMMUNIST STATE.......... THE USA IS THE COMMUNIST STATE! WHERE ELSE CAN YOU GO AND BE TAXED ON EVERYTHING AND GET NOTHING IN RETURN? THE GOVERNMENT IS THE REAL PROBLEM HERE!!! THE GOVERNMENT IS SUPPOSE TO WORK FOR US THE PEOPLE BUT IN TURN WE WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT.

    November 5, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  15. Craig Nazor

    Think the election was tough? Now the REAL work starts. I hope Barack Obama feels the wind of all of us at his back, and calls on us for help, because I, for one, am READY TO WORK FOR CHANGE!

    November 5, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  16. William W Waithaka

    The Best Service that the Community Can do is to
    commit the President Elect Barack Obama to God so that he would
    have wisdom to Rule Over this Nation which is now in trouble because of the Economy and Two wars going on now.
    The employment is on low profile Homes Closure.

    November 5, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  17. Conservative Catholic

    Ahh really Barack Obama praying. I do not believe that. Im surprised that he knows what praying even is. How can he call himself a Christians when he's not in line with the teaching of the church, and is a baby killer. He is not a CHRISTIAN.

    I will never accept Obama, until he becomes a true Christian. I do pray to ask GOD for protection for the next 4 years, as I read today that all ISLAM is celebrating this historic election.

    GOD HELP US ALL. I'm moving to Europe.

    November 5, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  18. Oh Yeah!!

    Dear Lord, Save us from the evangelicals, and any other closed minded, ignorant, and superstitious red neck folks who misguidedly think they are serving in Your name.
    I pray for Obama, his family, and his administration to have all success, guidance, and great ideas...and for this great country to work together in peace and speed. AMEN.

    November 5, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  19. 3strikes

    i see a lot of comments on here that are comparing obama with the bible. what he really compares to is the book of revelations, obama is a false prophet. once he faulters, all you supporters of him will turn on him like a pack of wild dogs because he wouldnt be able to serve you anything on a silver platter. just wait and see.

    November 5, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  20. use your brain

    if you are a student of history you would know what separation of church and state means. so the intelligent ones will understand this, the others will think it means to keep the church out of the state. those who know what administration made financial organizations lend money to people who couldn't repay because if they didn't it lend they were being "prejudice". How naive, or just plain stupid the american people have become. A little truth goes along way. The media controls your thinking unless you use your brain, common sense, and THINK about what you hear, not just repeat what you hear. Be an informed self thinking american.

    November 5, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  21. PARKER

    I DONT UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS ABOUT ALL YOU PEOPLE WANT TOPRAY TO A GOD THAT DOESNT EXIST!!!!!!!!!!! THIS WAS PUT IN OUR FOREFATHERS HEADS ALONG TIME AGO AND IT HAS STUCK THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME PRAYING.......DONT YOU THINK THE HOMELESS PRAYS TO "GOD" FOR HELP?! I DONT SEE THE WORLD NOT FULL OF HOMELESS PEOPLE

    November 5, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  22. be happy

    God bless you President Obama and your family, God bless America.

    November 5, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  23. Dan, TX

    For McCain supporters, remember, God works in mysterious ways. It was God's will that Obama become president. We must help Obama to reduce the deficit and move toward balancing the budget by the end of his term as President. We must help him if he asks for our help.

    November 5, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  24. Wendell Morris

    Once President Elect Obama puts God first in all his choices, makes good on his campaign promises and continues on his even keel, I believe that he would be very success as America's 44 President

    November 5, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  25. Laurie Donaldson

    Where predjudice may still exist it is amazes me that when our county is in such tumoil that people came together and loved their county foremost and in doing so made the right choice regardless of race. I have never been so proud of my country as I know we truly are the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

    November 5, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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