Inauguration Day Prayer for President Harry S. Truman by Rabbi Samuel Thurman (1949)

Lord God of all the nations: The hearts and minds of this Nation turn to Thee in this solemn moment in prayer and in gratitude. This Nation, blessed by Thee and dedicated to the holiest conception of Thee as the Father of all mankind is now being reconsecrated and rededicated in the person of its first citizen, the President of these United States of America. A son of the people, champion of social justice and civic righteousness, he is about to take the oath of his high office.

We pray Thy blessing upon him and his dear ones. Chosen by the people to be their Chief Magistrate, may the people’s confidence in him never wane. May he continue to hold the high convictions of righteousness and Justice, of truth and peace, which have won for him the people’s faith and admiration. Touch him with Thy divine wisdom that he may, with humility, yet also with strength and courage, pursue the high purposes and noble ideals which have moved him to seek and to win the leadership of this Nation. May Thy hand lead and guide him through the many and tortuous paths through which this Nation and all the nations of the world must pass in the years ahead. Keep his heart steadfast and his mind single in the performance of the tasks and duties of his great office, and may this Nation, under his leadership, hold fast to its traditional Ideals of freedom and justice for all men. Thus, blessed by Thee and devoted to the holy purposes of Thy will, our Nation shall go forward with unabated strength and unceasing labor in the service of Thee and of humanity, spreading light and liberty to those peoples that walk in darkness and dwell in servitude. By Thy bounty we have become rich and mighty among the nations of the world. O Lord, make us more worthy of all Thy blessings, to the end that both leader and people may continue to find favor in Thine eyes, and so live and serve that Thy glory. Thy majesty, and Thy power may abide with us forever. Amen.


This prayer by Rabbi Samuel Thurman, of the United Hebrew Temple (St. Louis, Missouri), was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1949.

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