The Bible was opened to 2 Chronicles and the President-elect placed his hand on the passage in chapter 7. Then something extraordinary happened. The President-elect turned to the congregation at a special service at the National Presbyterian Church held on inauguration day and said:
“My friends, before I begin the expression of those thoughts I deem appropriate to this moment, would you permit me the privilege of uttering a private little prayer of my own. And I ask that you bow your head.”
The new president then proceeded to pray.
“Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment my future associates in the executive branch join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng, and their fellow citizens everywhere.
Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow our words and actions to be governed thereby, and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people, regardless of station, race, or calling.
May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths; so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory. Amen” *
It was an extraordinary moment for a very private man who had experienced a slow dawning of spiritual fervor ending in a conversion to Christ over the rubble of war and a presidental campaign. Dwight D. Eisenhower is the only President to have been baptized as a Christian while in office. It was not a political stunt. It was not a subterfuge to gain votes. It was not a pandering to some religious interest group.
It was the expression of man who knew that the task ahead was great, and a diverse people needed government that was both wise and compassionate as well as committed to the service of all citizens. Let us pray that such men and women with similar passion for good coupled with a deep humility and real faith in God will rise up to lead our nation in the near future.
- The Soul of an American President, Alan Sears and Craig Osten with Ryan Cole (Baker Books, 2019), p. 131.