Dedicating the First to God: An American Tradition

Following the centuries-old tradition set by America’s first president, President George W. Bush opened his first official day of his second term with a prayer service at the Capitol, Friday, January 21, 2005.

Over 3,200 invited family members, dignitaries, administration officials and other guests, gathered at the Washington National Cathedral to hear prayers, homilies and blessings from dozens of select clergy from various denominations and faiths.

The world renowned evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham, offered the prayer to open the 55th Presidential Inaugural Service, during which he said he believed God had a hand in Bush’s re-election.

"Their next four years are hidden from us, but they are not hidden from you," said the 86-year-old evangelist, who helped Bush find a new life in Christ at the age of 40. "You know the challenges and opportunities they will face. Give them a clear mind, a warm heart, calmness in the midst of turmoil, reassurance in times of discouragement and your presence always."

The event marked the 9th inaugural prayer service attended by Graham.

The service also included readings from the Old and New testaments, and prayers led by various Christian and Jewish clerics.