What Rick Warren Prayed for a New President
The text of Rick Warren's invocation at the inauguration.

Our previous post was Mark Labberton's reflection on how to pray for a new president. Rick Warren had the opportunity to do exactly that in a very public way as he offered the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. Here's the text of his prayer.

Almighty God, our Father:

Everything we see, and everything we can't see, exists because of you alone.

It all comes from you, it all belongs to you, it all exists for your glory.

History is your story.

The Scripture tells us, "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one." And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today, we rejoice not only in America's peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States.

We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity.

Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans - united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you - forgive us.

When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone - forgive us.

When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve - forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes - even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all.

May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy, and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet.

And may we never forget that one day, all nations–and all people–will stand accountable before you.

We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life - Yeshua, 'Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus - who taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

January 21, 2009

Displaying 1–10 of 11 comments

Colin

February 02, 2009  8:49am

In this age the only way one can pray a truly Christian Prayer is to use the name of the one who is the only one who can give us access to God - or am I wrong? Why in the world would a Christian want to pray a prayer that is acceptable to other faiths?

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David Price

January 29, 2009  12:02am

You can pray all you want, until the Holy Spirit opens ones eyes, they will not see. I thought Warren did a good job with the prayer. I am praying the Spirit opens the eyes of the President, and leads in righteousness and truth. that goes for all the elected representatives Federal state or Local. More than this, I pray Christians will be more active in government affairs, and hold these people accountable, thus holding ourselves accountable.

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Conrad Walton

January 25, 2009  4:51pm

I think that it's funny that the Christians get our panties in a bunch over a few words or phrases while the "other than Christians" were wildly upset over this. In the overview of it all, he did a great job of presenting the truth of Christ while angering the heathens. I'm cool with that. Rock on, Rick!

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Jim E.

January 25, 2009  3:43pm

As to the fruit of Obama, yes he picked Rick Warren for the invocation, but he also picked an agnostic gay activist "bishop", Gene Robinson, (himself in a homosexual relationship) for a prayer service earlier in the celebration. Robinson says he refuses to pray in "Jesus' Name" publically, and said of Rick Warren "The God he prays to is not the god I know". I guess Rev. Warren was picked for 'equal time'? (By the way, I thought the middle part of his invocation could have used more work, but the beginning and ending were spot-on!)

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Sara

January 23, 2009  12:10pm

I will be honest and come right out with it – I am not a fan of Rick Warren. I take issue with his doctrines and hearing his pleas for equality and unity – knowing where he stands on 'equality' and 'patriotism' (which leans more nationalism) sat like a stone in my gut. The benediction better fit the teachings of Christ in word and action from Rev. Lowrey. But I'm sure most will disagree based on a few choice phrases. I don't 'grade' prayers based on what we wish to hear. Many pray to be heard, what they think needs to be said – especially in politics. Make sure all the right phrases are said. Make sure the closing is right. Make sure the opening is right. Make sure the posture is right. The only thing G-d requires is the right heart: "Woe to me, have mercy on me – on us – a sinner!"

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JJ

January 22, 2009  11:31pm

I wish people would give Rick W. a break. This guy is doing a great job in so many ways. His prayer was terrific. And I like the comment above - should we really be "Grading" prayers? I'm somewhat contradicting myself I know in this. It's weird - I guess this is a unique deal. Anyway - I'm thrilled Rick had this opportunity and love the prayer he offered.

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Chad Hall

January 22, 2009  3:57pm

I'm not completely comfortable commenting on a prayer for fear of treating the prayer like a performance and placing myself in the role of judge. I'm no Simon Cowell and a prayer is not an attempt to please our ears. But I admit that I watched the inauguration live and as Warren began praying I was already wondering if he would close the prayer "in Jesus' name" or conclude in a manner aimed at being more inclusive. When he closed with the Lord's Prayer, I thought, "This is just the kind of thing Jesus would do – refuse the horns of a dilemma." As an aside, I'm curious what others thought of Obama's address?

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Brent

January 22, 2009  2:27am

Whilst I have my concerns over some things Rick Warren is up to, this was somewhere where I though he stepped up and did well. There has been a lot of debate as to what he would pray. I thought he did brilliantly. A Christian prayer full of biblical truth...well done Rick

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mike rucker

January 22, 2009  2:21am

i'm certain many of the obama-is-the-anti-christ crowd - and, trust me, the 'Christian' blogosphere is rampant with these bigoted wackos - will deride the pick of warren as not evangelical enough, not doctrinally-correct enough, not hellfire-and-brimstone enough, etc. etc. and that during his great prayer 'opportunity' he didn't say such-and-such and should have yada yada yada. to all of them, i offer one verse: matthew 7:16. and, right now, the fruit on the obama tree seems vibrant and healthy in light of the warren selection and the prayer he offered for - whom? for the doctrinally correct? for the elect? for the non-elect, to say neener-neener-God-picked-me-and-it's-too-bad-for-you? for saved reformed/calvinist white males? no, for the entire country. God is much bigger than even the narrowest of mindsets. and i hope our country heard that as warren prayed. or at least the part that, in a million quiet, meaningful ways, is being motivated by our new president to start making a real difference in our country, and in our world. something most of the 'Christian' blogosphere has no interest in - especially under obama. because, in the end, 'by their fruits shall you know them', too... mike rucker fairburn, georgia, usa

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Brandon Cox

January 21, 2009  2:09pm

I was deeply moved. I was praying for Rick before he prayed - can't imagine the pressure and scrutiny he was under from all sides - proud of the way he represented the Father's interests!

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