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Protestants Lead Obama's Private Prayer Service

Those who spoke at the private prayer service for President Obama this morning were primarily Protestants, according to the bulletin obtained by Christianity Today.

Tomorrow morning's service at the National Cathedral will be filled with leaders from several religious traditions, but those would conducted the private service were primarily Protestants.

According to the bulletin, the service went as follows:

Luis Leon, Rector of St. John's Church, welcomed guests. The Associated Press reports that Leon said every president since James Madison has worshiped at the church at least once, "some of them kicking and screaming."

Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding bishop of Church of God in Christ, gave an invocation. The AP writes that he drew murmurs and chuckles when he blessed the Obamas and asked that "they may finish these two terms in office" stronger than they are now.

St. John's Choir sang This Little Light of Mine.

Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor at Northland, A Church Distributed, gave a blessing.

Rabbi David N. Saperstein, Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, read from Isaiah 42:1-9.

The congregation sang Hymn 686: Come, thou fount of every blessing .

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, read from Luke 12:22-31.

Yolanda Adams sang Open Up My Heart.

Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, introduced Bishop T.D. Jakes.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of The Potter's House, gave the sermon. The AP reports that borrowing an Obama campaign slogan, he told the president-elect that he will face many critics, "but you are all fired up, sir, and you're ready to go." The nation and God will go with him, too, Jakes said.

The congregation sang Hymn 488: Be thou my vision.

William A. Kerry, executive director of the Claude Pepper Center at Florida State University, prayed.

Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., president emeritus of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, prayed. Politico reports that he said, "Give to president Obama a double measure of faith and hope, and the strength to do justice. Give him the sight to see all that needs to be seen and the insight to look beyond the clouds and chaos of the moment and see great joys and possibilities. Let the house where he lives and serves be a house of hope for the nation, a house of joy and affection for his family, and the house of friendship for all nations. We thank you eternal god, for our new president, president elect Obama."

Luis Leon read responsive Prayers for the Nation.

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, the first female bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, gave the benediction.

The congregation sang Hymn 680: God of Grace and God of Glory.

Ben Smith at Politico reports that a sizable Jewish contingent was in attendance.

The political guests, along with Obama and Biden, included Rahm Emanuel, Dick Durbin, and Claire McCaskill, along with much of the Cabinet. The religious leaders included Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, who is giving a sermon, Gene Robinson, Archbishop Donald Wuerl, Bishop Murphy, and Rabbi David Saperstein.

Smith also gives the pool report, which has an account of Jakes' sermon.

Jakes read from Daniel, 3:19 and used the scripture to offer [Obama] a series of four lessons for his administration.

1 - "In time of crisis, good men must stand up. God always sends the best men into the worst times."

2 - "You cannot change what you will not confront. This is a moment of confrontation in this country. There's no way around it?This is not a time for politeness or correctness, this is a time for people to confront issues and bring about change."

3 - "You cannot enjoy the light without enduring the heat. The reality is the more brilliant, the more glorious, the more essential the light, the more intense the heat. We cannot separate one from the other."

4 - "Extraordinary times require extraordinary methods. This is a historical moment for us and our nation and our country, and though we enjoy it and are inspired by it and motivated by it."

After his four lessons, Jakes turned from the crowd and looked directly at Obama.

"The problems are mighty and the solutions are not simple," Jakes said, "and everywhere you turn there will be a critic waiting to attack every decision that you make. But you are all fired up, Sir, and you are ready to go. And this nation goes with you. God goes with you.

"I say to you as my son who is here today, my 14-year-old son - he probably would not quote scripture. He probably would use Star Trek instead, and so I say, - May the force be with you."

Jeffrey Weiss at the Dallas Morning News religion blog quickly corrects Jakes. The 'may the force be with you' reference is from, of course, Star Wars.

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