OUR NEWLY ELECTED PRESIDENT, DONALD J. TRUMP, will be inaugurated this Friday, January 20. He was elected by the majority of the Electoral College, the duly recognized authority enshrined by our Constitution to allow equal representation of all our citizens in every state to elect a leader that best represents them as American citizens. It is sad that these past two months have not brought healing and reconciliation, but have amplified the divisions and mean partisanship that has been such a strong force in our political life for all too long. Elections allow those running for office to make their best case for why they should be elected. We know those campaigns, like this most recent ones, can bring out the worst in so many people. But once the people have spoken, we must all as American citizens, strive to work together for the good of our country and for others. We have many challenges before us, and many opportunities as well. Each of us has a responsibility to pray for our newly elected leaders and to ask God’s blessings on them and our country. It has been a long tradition that a variety of clergy have offered prayers at every Presidential inauguration since 1937.

One of those asked to lead the prayer this year is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. He said: “I am honored to have been asked to offer a reading from Scripture at the upcoming presidential inauguration, and look forward to asking Almighty God to inspire and guide our new President and to continue to bless our great Nation.” All of us are invited on this day to lift up the needs of our nation to Almighty God, to pray for President-elect Donald Trump and his administration. We must give thanks to God for the abundant blessings and prosperity that marks our lives in this great nation of ours. We pray that God’s wisdom and truth will lead those who serve us in public office. We pray that they may work – once again – to defend and to advocate for the sanctity of every human life. We pray that –once again – people of faith will be respected and allowed to practice their beliefs and to worship freely without penalty or discrimination. We pray that the rule of law as intended by our Constitution and Bill of Rights will – once again – be respected by the judiciary in exercising their responsibility to interpret the intent of the law, not to create it. We pray that those in authority will understand their responsibility to serve as stewards of all that God has placed before them and to work to build a better country for all of its citizens, especially the poor and disenfranchsied, and those seeking to come to our shores and live peaceably with us as citizens.

Recently, I read the prayers offered at past presidential inaugurations and was struck by how fitting and appropriate for this week is the pray offered by Franklin Graham at the inauguration of President George Bush in 2001: “Blessed are you, O Lord, our God. Yours, O God, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor; for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O Lord is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and to give strength to all. As President Lincoln once said, “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” O Lord, as we come together on this historic and solemn occasion to inaugurate once again a president and vice president, teach us afresh that power, wisdom and salvation come only from your hand.

We pray, O Lord, for our President and Vice President-elect, to whom you have entrusted leadership of this nation at this moment in history. We pray that you will help them bring our country together, so that we may rise above partisan politics and seek the larger vision of your will for our nation. Use them to bring reconciliation between the races and healing to political wounds, that we may truly become “one nation under God.” Give our new president and all who advise him calmness in the face of storms, encouragement in the face of frustration, and humility in the face of success. Give them the wisdom to know and to do what is right and the courage to say no to all that is contrary to your statutes of holy law. Lord, we pray for their families and especially their wives, that they may sense your presence and know your love. Lead them as they journey through new doors of opportunity to serve others. Now, O Lord, we dedicate this presidential inaugural ceremony to you. May this be the beginning of a new dawn for America as we humble ourselves before you and acknowledge you alone as our Lord, our Savior and our Redeemer. We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”