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. ba-Rock says

    that is a blessing to know. i found a picture of the prayer. one nation under God! lets keep our leader in our prayers so that we can have the change that we need, the peace that we need.

    November 5, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  2. julio

    Obama is christian and he has let us know it. Does violate separation of church and state? NO! Obama is simply expressing his rights under the 1st amendment! Hello?! We live in a free country! If he lived in any other nation he may not have this freedom and could be persecuted. this what makes the USA the greatest nation on Earth. I thank God for the Greeks and that crazy experiment they called Democracy!

    November 5, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  3. Ivory Tower

    Time for America to heal itself. A new day has come, a great day, much work to be done. ILet us move forward!

    November 5, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  4. Meka

    President Obama will be the Leader, that America has needed and longed for. It will definitely be refreshing to have a Leader–Most Americans can and will Respect. CHANGE has already taken place ... with his Campaign, and him being Elected. We are Blessed to have Maturity, Intelligence and a Positive Leader.

    God Bless President Elect Obama, his Family . . . And God Bless America!

    November 5, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  5. TNTX disgust

    For the first time in my adult life, I am NOT proud of my country

    November 5, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. Blue Virginian

    I'm a democrat and prayed for the current president of our country because I know that God's word is true and that we should respect our leaders.

    I Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

    November 5, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  7. Molly

    Prayers are going out for strength, wisdom and healing.

    I did not support him as President, and feel that John McCain would have been the truly heroic leader of this country, but the votes are counted and that is not to be. My children are watching and listening- and no matter what I may think of decisions that are made, they need to understand how much I respect the office of the President of the United States. I will respect and support Pres Obama, and I will pray for him and for all of us.

    Maybe we can finally move to a time when our leaders are not the constant object of ridicule and rude humor , but of respect and care. I understand that many did not like Pres Bush- but that should not have allowed us to act as we did with name calling and constant ridicule. It was beneath who we are as a country to crush our President for a laugh. We all had serious disagreements with Pres Bush, but I didn't like the way we couldn't disagree without being so terribly personal and hateful. Pres Obama may do things some people disagree with, but I truly hope that we all handle ourselves with respect and kindness. That is one change I really will welcome.

    Now let's move onward and clean things up!

    November 5, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  8. Jim

    " this country was founded by our fore fathers who believed in God. Therefore it was never their intent to not pray,"

    ..Nor was it their intent to force prayer or religion on those who don't want it. After all, they left a country where religion had been forced on them, and that was the whole reason they left. So – remember THAT!

    November 5, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  9. Ilda and Ed

    We have been praying and believing that God's mantle of protection has been placed on President Obama and his family, for all the duration of his presidency. We are celibrating that the scourge of racism has been broken in this country.

    God bless President Obama and his family!

    November 5, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  10. Canada's looking good

    I have to laugh at all the liberal postings. You all think the great messiah can work miracles? It takes more than one person to get things done in politics. Even President Bush can't screw up the U.S.A. like most of you believe. All of you liberal trash that put down our President, should leave this country. I would bet most of you have not done one single thing to benefit this country, besides looking out for #1.

    I'm sure every President has the U.S.A.'s best interest at heart. They have to make decisions that 99% of you babies, could never make and be able to sleep that night, knowing you did the best you could.
    What disrespect you show for the most powerful person in the world.

    Your messiah already in his speech last night, reading from a telepromter said he won't be able to work the miracles he has promised for the last 18 months. It's ok, all of you can blame Bush in 4 years, of course its all his fault.

    Many of us middle Repulicans are looking forward to bashing your messiah. I'm looking forward to the time when i can place a bumper sticker on my car, that reads "Where's the change"? Shouldn't be too long now! The messiah takes office in 76 days. God help the U.S.A., we are gonna need it. Maybe Rev. Wright can say a prayer for the U.S.A?

    November 5, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  11. Not president yet...

    Obama may have been "elected" as our next president, but he still has one more thing to prove before actually becoming president. He must be a natural born, American citizen to be elected president. If he was born in Hawaii, like he says, then why doesn't he prove it by showing his birth certificate? What possible reason does he have to keep that from the American people? If he has nothing to hide, then just show us and get it over with!? Is it because he was actually born in Kenya, like his own grandmother has admitted? Or is it because the forfeiters are still making the finishing touches on the birth certificate. Those ACORN people sure do good work, I hear.

    November 5, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. Prayer warrior

    I pray to God that the Holy Spirit would convict his heart to ban abortion and gay marriages. We can only depend on the one and only true King. Jesus Christ. Spiritually, I pray to God that Obama changes his extreme liberal ways and follow the true Kings word, the Holy Bible. Obama has the way to go and I hope he continues to seek counsel through God's word and not just the popular vote on man.

    November 5, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  13. Phil Newton in Murphy, Oregon

    And so should we all pray.

    Lord bless our new President. Guide him, guard him, give him wisdom and strength.

    In the Lord's name,

    Amen.

    November 5, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  14. Jim

    "I'm confused. I understood "separation of church and state" to mean that the state cannot prevent or even discourage us from expressing our religion"

    The issues arise when "religion" violates or conflicts with the laws of the land – which take precedence. For example, you cannot found a religion that says it is OK to smoke pot when pot illegal – that has been tried. History, even recent US history, is full of religious crackpots and lunatics – Charles Manson, Jim jones, Warren Jeffs, the hale bop comet people, the list goes on and on. This is whythere are supposed to be laws about it. And one only needs to look to Iraq to see what happens when church and state are not separated, and kids grow up being brainwashed into believing there are virgins waiting for them in a special place with Allah – if they just kill infidels.
    The people who flew the plane sinto the WTC were very religious – they just don't agree with your definition of religion. Again, this is why there needs to be a separation.

    November 5, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  15. sallie - GA

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow! God used a CRISIS to bring about a CHANGE! Just the magnitude of what has happened in this world, not just America, boggles the mind. A great leader brings the people together in unity; a leader who divides, bring destruction. And, that is what happened with the present administration. But God has brought it to an end. Now, we can begin to heal from the wounds of prejudice, hate, injustice and fear. God has blessed America, now it is time that America blesses God! Be of good courage President Obama, for God is with you and with your family.

    I hope that you will allow your grandmother in Kenya to attend the inaugural festivities and share in the joy of this great thing that has happened to her grandson.

    November 5, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  16. annee

    God will guide this fine young man to do what is right for America!!!

    November 5, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  17. Democracy and freedom

    It seems that there is alot of complaints from the media. It seems to stir up people negatively. We should appreciate the comfort and freedom that our military has established throughout history. We can find comfort after that disasterous day 9/11. We should be discerning and appreciating the freedom has been given to us from our current leadership. I hope and pray that we will continue to have this freedom under the new leadership. We can pray to the one and only true God. Remember, the Consitution was written up by men who believe in the one and true God. Remember: "In God we trust". Let freedom reign quoted by a familiar preacher and godly speaker.

    November 5, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  18. Mild Rubio

    OHHH PLS OBAMA JUST STOP INVOKING THE WORD OF GOD WHEN YOU HAVE BLOOD OF INNOCENT IN YOUR HANDS.!!!

    November 5, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  19. Mel the Voter

    Keep the new administration in your prayers.

    Unity over Division
    Strength over Fear
    Humility over Pride
    Generosity over Greed
    Kindness over Wrath
    Self-control over Lust
    Faith over Gluttony

    May God bless President-elect Barack Obama and the administration he chooses to lead America towards unity and not division. May America look for the best in its fellow citizens and not the worst.

    November 5, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  20. Dave

    He does deserve our prayers, but I find hyprocacy in the fact he was praying with "pastors" knowing well that Obama supports abortion and gays which goes against Gods moral teachings

    November 5, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  21. Teresa, Georgia

    Always, with guidance and direction from the MAN above all men, YES WE CAN. God Bless Obama, his family, and the leadership he surrounds himself with and the decisions they make together for the betterment of our country. God Bless America!

    November 5, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  22. John

    Ah yes, the CNN comments section...where the crazies come out to play.

    November 5, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  23. Fed Up

    I don't believe in your 'God'. I certainly will not be condemned for choosing to be free of any particular religion while the Constitution still govern's this land. As long as Mr. Obama does not try to rule with his religion, but use his personal faith, in private, for strength to make the best decisions, everything will be coolio!

    November 5, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. Krystal

    ARGH!! All you people drive me BATTY with the birth certificate thing!!! Ummm.... don't you think that if Obama wasn't born in the US, that the repubs would have stopped him dead in his tracks WAY before the general election ever got underway?!?? or how about Hillary Clinton?!?? Don't you think she'd have done something during the primaries? THERE IS NO WAY THAT ANYONE COULD BE ELECTED POTUS WITHOUT BEING BORN A US CITIZEN!!!! I'm 24, and even I know that!!

    You know what.... GROW UP!!! All of you think that the world's just gonna end now that he's the POTUS, yet you are all the same people that elected Bush... we haven't forgotten that.... so i for one don't exacty trust your judgment!!

    November 5, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. Rachel

    I was encouraged that President Elect Obama asked for prayer before his acceptance speech and appearance. That is encouraging. Viewing it on TV, I had to admit it was very moving, and there was like a glow or peace about it. In my own experience, the Lord has often brought peace and something special in the atmosphere when invited. So kudos. Actually, this nation was conceived and founded by an overwhelming number of highly educated and fervent Christians who had no problem with public prayer. In fact, their problem was with government interference in their pursuit and expressions of faith.

    November 5, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
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