Trump, Pence Attend Prayer Service Featuring Muslim, Buddhist & Sikh Invocations, Liberty Univ. Praise

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attended the traditional National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, which featured representatives from various religions, including Islam, Sikhism and Buddhism.

The gathering featured a variety of music and speakers, with prayers in the name of Jesus and songs such as “How Great Thou Art” by Marlana VanHoose and “We’ve Come This Far By Faith” by Liberty University Praise interspersed with prayers and readings from a rabbi, an imam, a Hindu priest and others.

The event was opened by Mariann Edgar Budde, the female bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

“As we mark this moment of political transition, let us all draw strength and courage from the sacred texts and songs … from the many traditions of our land,” Budde declared.

A Navajo blessing was presented by Carlyle Begay, followed later by Todd Christopherson of the Mormon Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who read from the Book of Common Prayer, as was done during a prayer service for George Washington in 1783.

“Fill them with the love and truth of righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people, in thy fear through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with Thee, one God, world without end,” Christopherson recited.

Cantor Mikhail Manevich from Washington Hebrew Congregation recited the Jewish Sh’ma Yisrael (Hear O Israel) and the Viyahafta (You Shall Love).

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Also in the first half of the service, Narayanachar Digalakota from the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Lanham, Maryland presented an invocation on behalf of the Hindu religion, speaking in Sanskrit.

Sajid Tarar, the founder of Muslims for Trump, who delivered an Islamic prayer at the Republican National Convention in July, read from the Koran in Arabic, and Imam Mohamed Magid, executive director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, presented a reading as well.

“O mankind, indeed we have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you,” Magid recited.

Later in the event, Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship and the Harvest Crusades presented a prayer asking that the Armed Forces have divine protection, that diplomats would be “ambassadors of hope,” and that local governments would have the “spirit of wisdom and love, and justice and compassion.”

He was followed by Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, who implored God to protect and give courage to the nation’s first responders and police officers “that they may serve You and their neighbor.”

David Jeremiah of Shadow Mountain Community Church also provided a reading from Romans, and Ronnie Floyd, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, read from Psalm 23.

The men were followed by Jesse Singh, founder of American Sikhs for Trump, who offered a prayer first delivered by Guru Gobind Singh, who is considered the 10th Sikh master.

The event concluded with a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, led by Ramiro Pena of Christ the King Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.

Others who spoke at the service included Ian McIlraith of the Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International; Alveda King, the niece of the late Martin Luther King Jr.; Geron Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Donald Wuerl, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, D.C.; and Cissie Graham Lynch, the granddaughter of Billy Graham.

As previously reported, services at the Washington National Cathedral following inaugural ceremonies have been a long-held American tradition, spanning more than 100 years. Barack Obama and Joe Biden likewise attended ceremonies at the cathedral featuring a number of world religions following the 2009 and 2013 inaugurations.

In 2013, the Episcopalian Cathedral announced that it would begin hosting same-sex ceremonies.


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