“We are One” Prayer


There’s some controversy surrounding why this prayer was omitted from the “We are One” broadcast, but I thought it was worthy of posting.

O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless this nation with anger – anger at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years. Inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words. We will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.


Regardless of how we may feel about Obama’s presidency, I hope that we can echo this prayer.


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  1. January 20, 2009 at 2:36 pm — Reply

    I usually try to stay out of political discussions, but I’m breaking the rule.

    My brother told me that Bishop Robinson (I think he was the one who offered this prayer, right?) said he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.” He also said “I am very clear that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture. The texts I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”

    I realize I’m basing my opinion on heresay, but if that is true, this prayer makes me uncomfortable. A lot of what he said in this prayer I agree with, but I have a hard time being led in prayer by a man who feels that way.

  2. January 21, 2009 at 8:15 pm — Reply

    Becky, I understand what you’re saying. But there have been some pretty incredible, very Biblical statements, that have been made by people who I don’t find much agreement with – aside from the aforementioned words. I don’t know that I would want to be led in prayer by him either, but I do think the things that he said were good.

  3. January 22, 2009 at 9:52 am — Reply

    You’re right, Todd. I think it was Paul who said he didn’t much care who said it as long as Jesus was being preached, right? We certainly can find Truth in this prayer.

    I was just disappointed in Obama’s blatant effort to appease anger over his choice of Rick Warren by choosing someone like this guy.

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“We are One” Prayer