The Prayer of Myrlie Evers-Williams

I wrote last week about the historical significance of Myrlie Ever-Williams delivering the invocation at President Obama’s Second Inauguration. In our open thread, I mentioned loving it.

Here it is:

America, we are here, our nation’s Capitol on this January the 21st 2013, the inauguration of our 45th [editor’s note, should be 44th] president Barack Obama. We come at this time to ask blessings upon our leaders, the president, vice president, members of Congress, all elected and appointed officials of the United States of America. We are here to ask blessings upon our armed forces, blessings upon all who contribute to the essence of the American spirit, the American dream. The opportunity to become whatever our mankind, womankind, allows us to be. This is the promise of America.

Myrlie Evers-Williams gives an invocation on January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC (AFP, Jewel Samad)

As we sing the words of belief, “this is my country,” let us act upon the meaning that everyone is included. May the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of every woman, man, boy and girl be honored. May all your people, especially the least of these, flourish in our blessed nation. One hundred fifty years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 50 years after the March on Washington, we celebrate the spirit of our ancestors, which has allowed us to move from a nation of unborn hopes and a history of disenfranchised [votes] to today’s expression of a more perfect union. We ask, too, almighty that where our paths seem blanketed by [throngs] of oppression and riddle by pangs of despair we ask for your guidance toward the light of deliverance. And that the vision of those that came before us and dreamed of this day, that we recognize that their visions still inspire us.

They are a great cloud of witnesses unseen by the naked eye but all around us thankful that their living was not in vain. For every mountain you gave us the strength to climb. Your grace is pleaded to continue that climb for America and the world. We now stand beneath the shadow nation’s Capitol whose golden dome reflects the unity and democracy of one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Approximately four miles from where we are assembled the hallowed remains of men and women rest in Arlington Cemetery. They who believed, fought and died for this country. May their spirit infuse our being to work together with respect, enabling us to continue to build this nation, and in so doing we send a message to the world that we are strong, fierce in our strength, and ever vigilant in our pursuit of freedom. We ask that you grant our president the will to act courageously but cautiously when confronted with danger and to act prudently but deliberately when challenged by adversity. Please continue to bless his efforts to lead by example in consideration and favor of the diversity of our people.

Bless our families all across this nation.

We thank you for this opportunity of prayer to strengthen us for the journey through the days that lie ahead.

We invoke the prayers of our grandmothers, who taught us to pray, ‘God make me a blessing.’ Let their spirit guide us as we claim the spirit of old.

There’s something within me that holds the reins. There’s something within me that banishes pain. There’s something within me I cannot explain. But all I know America, there is something within. There is something within.

In Jesus’ name and the name of all who are holy and right we pray. Amen.

Amen. Amen. And Amen.

(Thanks for the Under God Blog at the Washington Post)

About Chris Henrichsen

Chris Henrichsen has moved Approaching Justice off of Patheos. Find his latest posts and the new Approaching Justice. Thanks!

  • Darren

    This wasn’t a prayer, it was a speech. You loved a “prayer” which did not address God beyong quoting previous prayer recitation? Huh?

    Where the heck are you coming from?

  • Darren

    Darren’s prayer;

    “Father in Heaven. We bow our heads and give thee great thanks thine benevolent blessings. We thank thee for our families. may they be blessed and enriched greatly throughout the year and in further times to come. We ask to bless family members who struggle that they may be comforted. Bless our friends and loved ones as well. May they all be strengthend by thine hands and uplfted and comforted in times of need. Help us to be thine servants and to reach out charitably and serve willingly. This for thine glory.

    We thank thee for living in a nation which the people may gather and express their voice. We thank thee for inspiring our Founding Fathers to create a land based upon all men being created equal before thee. bless the founders for their service to thee and to country. We thank thee that the gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth today. May it continue to expand and flourish and reach all te ends of the earth. May nations around the world be free so that their respective peoples may learn of thee and thine Son and choose to follow Him in all that they do. May we all embrace him and His divine sacrifice that we as a nation truly be free. may those whom govern this people govern charitably. May they seek to serve those whom they govern and those who have entrusted them to be their governors. May their be a spirit of service from them. A spirit which comes from thine Only Begotten Son that true equity may reign upon this land.

    We bow ourselves before thine almighty presence and render thee thanks for all thine benevolet blessings. We aks for thine guiding strength and wisdom. May we seek thee in prayer and scripture and do so diligently. May we be intune to thine will ad carry it out. May we prosper continually under thine merciful hands and watchful eyes.

    We give thee this thanks and ask for these blessngs humbly in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, amen.”

    Would you give that a triple amen, Chris H?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/ Chris H.

    “Where the heck are you coming from?”

    I was born in DC. Grew up in Maryland. I have lived my adult life in Utah, Idaho, and now Wyoming. I have been LDS my entire life, so it was a little different then what I am use to. However, I learning to more and more other faith traditions.

    Thanks for you prayer. I asked for submissions and while back. I printed one from a conservative and one from a liberal.



    And here:


    Darren, I would indeed give you a triple amen. Thanks for sharing. Seriously.

  • Darren

    There’s nothing wrong with appreciating prayers of other faiths. In fact, I recall a lady convert in my ward in Illinois and when she prayed she brought in ther black Southern Baptist praise Jesus spirit into her prayers. I looked forward to that sister’s prayers.

    Thanks for the triple amen, brother!

  • Faith

    I loved her prayer and I had the opportunity to be there to hear it. When she said spoke of the fallen in Arlington and asked that their spirit infuse our being to work together – that brought tears to my eyes.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithpromotingrumor/ Chris H.

    Faith, that part was powerful. How was the experience of attending the Inauguration? I was raised in the DC area, however I have never attended an Inauguration. I do remember being downtown on the weekend before Pres. Clintons first inauguration. I was a hard-core Republican at the time and not very happy about it. Yet, it was very festive and cheerful in the city.