Follow God’s will to hold on to values, Obama urged in prayer service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Scripture readings, prayers and songs, many with a theme of following the will of God in service to the country and the world, launched President Barack Obama’s first full day on the job during an interfaith prayer service Jan. 21. After a day and a night of celebrating the inauguration, Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden and members of the Cabinet began their term as their predecessors have, at the Episcopal-administered National Cathedral. The Rev. Sharon E. Watkins, general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada, urged Obama and Biden in her sermon to remain centered on values that have guided the nation in the past: compassion, faithfulness, hope, truth and love. The 90-minute prayer service included readings, prayers and songs led by two Catholic bishops, several rabbis, the president of the Islamic Society of North America, a Hindu leader and representatives of a dozen Christian churches. “We, the nation that you serve, need you to hold the ground of your deepest values, of our deepest values,” said Rev. Watkins, the first woman to preach at the quadrennial prayer service.

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