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

Praying with the President-elect

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. joe

    Oh please can we have some separation of church and state? Why can't people just keep their religion private? I don't need you know about mine and God knows I don't want to know about yours or anyone else's.

    November 5, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  2. Angel

    wow so many racists are upset that Obama bet you they are hoping for an Obama failure which by God;s grace..will not happen.

    November 5, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  3. ma stjohns mi

    i did not vote for mr obama.....but in GODS WORD the says pray for those in authority over us....and that is exactly what is expected of me in these trying times....I WILL hold him up in prayer......I cannot fathom going thru the turmoil of today without the savior.....without Him there is no hope.

    November 5, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. John

    I would have to refute that we were founded as a Christian nation. I am a evangelical Christian, but know this nation was founded under the premise of freedom of religion. A Christian nation would be contrary to that. ALSO, it was founded upon the idea of separation of church and state. I absolutely agree that Jesus would have serious issues with both democrats and republicans alike...

    November 5, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  5. Dave

    George Bush prayed a lot during his presidency. A lot. Can we all please acknowledge that prayer is on the same level of practicality as any other superstitious tradition like wishing wells and lucky rabbit's feet? I am thrilled that we have evolved in this country enough to elect a president from a different ethnic/cultural background. Hopefully someday we will acknowledge that no religious test shall be required to become president, and we might be able to have a non-Christian, or god-forbid, an atheist president.

    November 5, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  6. John Gleason

    For over 8 years I have witnessed liberals in the Democratic party, Hollywood and the media do everything in their power to discredit,insult,impede,disrespect, mischaracterize and utter vile slanders against the President, the Republican Party, and conservatives in general. Now we are all supposed to join hands, sing Kumbaya and walk together into the the sunshine with Barack Obama? "We need to come together, put our differences aside and come together as one"? Isn't that precious.

    November 5, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  7. TCE

    Congrats to Obama and Biden. There is a Higher Power to call upon and am grateful for Obama being humble to call upon God. He, our country and the wortl our in my prayers for healing and real change to occur.
    God Bless Obama and Biden and God bless the USA!!

    November 5, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  8. somewhere in florida

    why does everyone keep bringing rev wright up? again, isn't that what Christianity is about forgiveness? I mean, blacks are expected to forgive slavery right, but how come rev. wright cannot be forgiven for his comments? I'm still trying to understand this Christianity thing and how it works.

    November 5, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  9. Brightaura

    In reply to the comment posted by Chris earlier:

    So what you are saying then, is that the President or Government should be responsible for the sins of others?

    The issue of Abortion, Just like every other issue one may face in life, is a choice which belongs to each individual. We each have the choice to commit mortal sin or not, and reap the consequences thereof before God. To put this issue in the hands of the President would leave him to be Judged for a mortal sin he did not commit. I was baptized Catholic and I have accepted this fact. I hope one day we will all accept that each of us are responsible for his/her actions, and not place that burden upon Government as a way of scapegoating. There are other issues in desperate need of Mr. Obamas focus at this time. Meanwhile, I'll pray for peace.

    November 5, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  10. ann

    American women voters disgraced themselves by not voting for the McCain/Palin ticket. Sarah Palin would have been the first woman Vice President. and would have represented real change.

    November 5, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. Lana

    I voted for Obama. I am a Christian and am proud that my President-elect took time to pray before celebrating his election. Our country needs prayer. We are the greatest nation in the world and yet we are not truly united. Remember we are told "judge not lest ye be judged." Obama's level of faith is between him and our Heavenly Father. We need not judge its sincerity. We need to get behind our President and pray for his guidance as we have done term after term regardless of party affiliation. He is elected it is time to wish him success for his success is ours.

    November 5, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  12. Rose from Omaha

    Now, maybe we can do as our coins say, "In God We Trust" and unite to work without fail to make this US of A the best country in the world as it once was.

    November 5, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  13. judy - san leandro, ca

    Being a born again christian I truly beleive that prayer changes things. I supported Senator Obama every since the primaries and throughout the general election I thank God he answered my prayers.

    I will continue to pray for President Obama and for his lovely family.

    May God bless America

    Remember Only Jesus Saves!

    November 5, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  14. ALM

    You American's really need to read something else other than the Bible sometimes – you might actually learn a little humanity and learn not to judge another until you've walked in their shoes. And you wonder why the rest of the world looks down their noses in disdain... All I can say is ...GROW UP!!

    November 5, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. McChange In Alobama

    WE DID

    November 5, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  16. Left Coast Guy

    To the guy who asked about Obama saluting the flag, only military personnel who are in uniform and wear a "cover" are supposed to salute the flag. Your WWII vet father should know that.

    To imply that Obama does not respect the flag just shows that some people will continue to make up any excuse to distrust and even dislike someone who is not like them.

    Getover it. Our country is better than that, and you should be too.

    November 5, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  17. DeeDee

    If any of you haters love this county then you will drop the negativity and focus on what you can do to help make this country great again. Don’t wish Obama to fail because if he fails then we all do. Just lick your wounds and get over it already...enough is enough.

    To President Obama – – May we all serve you as well as we hope you will serve us. Congratulations!!

    November 5, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  18. Luke

    To add to the comment from Mike that just because you are a believer you don't have to vote republican, I do understand where you are coming from. However if you call yourself a true Christian wouldn't you want to support someone to lead our country who has strong biblical morals and understands that the most important gift in this world is life and we need to protect it!

    November 5, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  19. mrd

    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 (any religion) in reasonable ways (check out Thomas Jefferson for a discussion of this). From the way some are talking, "separation of church and state" should give the state power to prevent the expression of religious beliefs in all kinds of ways. Let's get back to the "freedom interpretation".

    November 5, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  20. ms j La

    Listen Americans,

    We supposed to be "one nation under God", and I for one will indeed pray for him and his family, as well as Joe Biden's family. Did you guys not see how other countries got involved in the election process, they were very glad that President-Elect Obama won, That tells me something about how they view OUR country. I know if we as a nation try to work with each other and be there for each other we can do great things together! So, let's forget about hurting one another and begin healing our land with love for one another.

    "We're like M&M candy, we are all the same on the inside, we just look different on the outside" I love you Republicans, Democrats, & Independents!

    November 5, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |

    As a Christian AND American, I understand that American is NOT purely Christian. We can not dictate our desires to people who may not have the same faith we do. In other words.....America is a country of choice. If you do not believe in abortion, do not get one. If it is alright by law, and others need to make their own personal choices.
    If RNC believes abortion needs to be illegal ask yourself why they did not pursue this when they controlled the house and senate during the Bush administration.
    Put your energy to stop abortion by educating young people to NOT have premarital sex. Not only in the church but in the neighborhood !

    November 5, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  22. center left in PA

    When I look at Barack Obama, all I see is a MAN, I don't see a black
    Man......That's how everyone should be treated, color should never define a person or their abilities

    I was raised to believe that no matter what your color is red, yellow, black or white, God Loves You

    Dear God, Please Save Me From Your Followers Who Have No Tolerance For Change

    November 5, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  23. Brian

    If Obama wants God to bless his presidency, the first thing he should do is honour his commands – you shall not kill. This means that abortion must be stopped.

    If Obama does not proceed along these lines, his prayers will end up in outer space, where there is only weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Wake up people – the Bible defines who God is – let's respond to His call rather than re-writing what He has said to suit our own agendas.

    November 5, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  24. mar

    What a nice article!

    November 5, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  25. HeatherK

    Ok, I have had just about enough of God, prayer, and religion. No matter your faith be Christian, Muslim, or Jewish they all have histories filled with hate, violence, and destruction. Until we can all set aside religion and treat each other with a little courtesy, and decency we will never be able to get past anything and move on. The greatest gift that we have been given as humans is the gift of choice. If we as humans would make our choices more wisely, life for everyone would be soooo much easier. Because God didn't do it someone, somewhere made a choice.

    November 5, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
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