Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks at a National Day of Prayer Service

May 07, 2020

The President. Thank you very much. Please. Thank you. Be seated, please. And, Melania, thank you very much, on the second anniversary of the "Be Best" initiative. You've done a fantastic job. And everybody appreciates it. But I want to—[applause]. Thank you. And I want to thank you, on behalf of the entire nation, for all that you do for America's children and on fighting the drug addiction problem that we have in this country. It's all over the world. But I want to thank you very much. Great job you do. You work so hard.

On this National Day of Prayer, America is engaged in a fierce battle against a very terrible disease. Throughout our history, in times of challenge, our people have always called upon the gift of faith, the blessing of belief, the power of prayer, and the eternal glory of God.

I ask all Americans to join their voices and their hearts in spiritual union as we ask our Lord in Heaven for strength and solace, for courage and comfort, for hope and healing, for recovery and for renewal.

In recent days and weeks, our country has endured a grave hardship. We pray for every family stricken with grief and devastated with a tragic loss. We pray for the doctors, the nurses, and first responders waging war against the invisible enemy. We pray for the scientists and researchers—pioneer treatments, that they find therapies and vaccines and that they find them soon. We pray for the frontline workers keeping our Nation fed, nourished, and safe and secure. May God watch over them all.

We are honored to have with us today our amazing Vice President, Mike Pence, and his wonderful wife Karen, great friends of our Nation and great friends of mine and Melania's. And somebody who is doing an incredible job, not only as Vice President, but as heading the Task Force, which has come up with so many solutions and ideas and things that we didn't even think about two months ago.

We're also profoundly grateful to be joined by many faith leaders who are helping to care for our neighbors in their hour of need. Thank you all for providing meals to families, medical supplies to hospitals, and for providing spiritual strength and encouragement to your communities. You're very important people, very respected people, and very much loved people.

In every part of our country, we've seen Grace of God through the love and devotion of our fellow citizens. As Scripture assures us, "The Lord your God is [not in]* your midst, a mighty one who will save." And I think it's so true. Think of that: "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save."

We have been reminded once again that God has blessed our land with heroes of faith.

Here with us is Brittany Akinsola from Charlotte, North Carolina. Brittany is a nurse, a pastor, a wife, a mother. When she saw the dire situation in New York City, she volunteered to work at the Samaritan's Purse field hospital in Central Park. There, she worked 13-hour shifts in the intensive care unit for weeks, praying for each patient while giving them the very best care. As Brittany said, "We just keep sharing the love of Christ through our gifts of nursing." Brittany, America is forever indebted to you and the incredible job you're—you have done. And we very much appreciate it, Brittany. Please come up. Please, come up, Brittany, and say a few words. Thank you.

Charlotte, NC, resident Brittany Akinsola. Thank you so much, Mr. President. It has been a great honor and privilege to be able to travel around the world with Samaritan's Purse and help people in their time of crisis and need. And I most recently had the opportunity to go to New York City, as you shared. And I will tell you that, just to be able to combine both my skills of nursing and the gifting of pastoring at such a time as this in our Nation and to serve the people of New York City was truly one of the greatest honors of my life.

[At this point, Ms. Akinsola continued her remarks, concluding as follows.]

I would love to just leave you with a Scripture that has helped me so much through this time. And it's Galatians 6:9, and what it says is, "Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." And the harvest that I'm believing for our country is one of restoration and hope. I am believing for healing in the name of Jesus, and I am believing that unity would thrive during this time. So thank you so much, and God bless you all.

The President. Wow, Brittany. That's great. Wow. Thank you very much. Brittany—no notes, no nothing. [Laughter] You know your stuff, don't you? Huh? Thank you very much. Fantastic person.

Also with us is Mario Salerno, a landlord auto-shop owner in Brooklyn. Last month, Mario waived rent for all 200 of his tenants. So I got to see you on television, actually. I said, "What kind of a landlord is that?" [Laughter] That's a great landlord, right? That's very nice. I got to see that. He wanted to make sure that they could put food on the table, and he wanted to take care of their families even though he's losing a lot of income, which he could always use. We can always use it. Right, Mario? But that was a big thing. Mario says that's irrelevant compared to the value of human life. Fantastic thing, Mario.

He also believes he has two callings in his wonderful world—usually wonderful world; we live in a world that's very complex—to do good to people and to keep his faith. As Mario puts it, "Faith is a lot more powerful than fear." That's true.

Mario, if you would, would you please step up and say a few words? Thank you very much.

Salerno Auto Body Owner Mario Salerno. Thank you very much, Mr. President. I'm honored. On this special day of prayer, I have nothing written. I just want to thank the good Lord. Every morning when I wake up, at 3:30 in the morning, get ready, put my feet, I pray. And I ask the good Lord: "Please, conquer this vicious virus. He's making us all stumble." And besides me praying to the Good Lord, I pray for our dear President. And I tell God: "Please, give him the strength and the power, because he's not only our leader of the great United States; the whole world is following this gentleman."

And I can't say anything else, but let's please pray for this wonderful man. Faith before fear. And, Mr. President, I'm honored to be here. And I pray for you every day. God bless America, and God bless you, Mr. President. Thank you.

The President. Thank you, Mario. Wow. That's so great. Thank you, Mario. That's really nice. I appreciate it. And by the way, I love your tie, but I love your words even more. Thank you very much.

In every age and in every generation, the prayers of our people and the faith of our families has willed us on to victory. No obstacle, no enemy, and no danger can overcome the mighty spirit and soul of our Nation. In every battle against poverty, against disease, against tyranny and evil, we have placed our loyalty in each other and our trust in God. And we have prevailed. We will continue to prevail. We will prevail again. We will vanquish the virus. We will defeat the enemy. We will not fail.

So, once more, we call upon our Creator to guide us through these very complex steps, protect our people, rebuild our communities, and restore our beloved Nation to even greater heights. We will never forget, however, those that have been lost, those incredible souls, and the families of those souls that are going through so much. We will never forget you. We will be there for you.

May God continues to strengthen our hearts and sustain our souls, may God continue to shed His divine grace upon this land, and may God forever bless the United States of America.

And now I'd like to ask the faith leaders of our country—some of the most important of our faith leaders, people respected by everybody—to say a few words.

Please, Sister Eneyda Martinez, if you would, perhaps begin. Sister, thank you very much.

Poor Sisters of St. Joseph Sister Eneyda Martinez. Thank you, Mr. President.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Dear Heavenly Father, I ask you to grant us, in this moment, to be in your most holy presence. In the presence of our mother Mary, of Saint Joseph, our protector and guide, of all the angels and of all the saints, I ask you to please grant us the grace to be one in body and in spirit, all of your children of the Earth. Please be with us so that with one voice, with the voice of the Church, we may pray together to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

[Sister Martinez continued her prayer, concluding as follows.]

We thank you, Father, for this moment. We thank you for Your love for us. We ask You, in the name of Christ our Lord, to bless us with His most precious blood, to bless our Nation, to bless our world. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The President. Thank you, Sister, very much. Thank you. It's beautiful.

Pujari Harish Brahmbhatt.

BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha Pujari Harish Brahmbhatt of Robbinsville, NJ. Thank you, Mr. President. In these troubled times of COVID-19, social distancing, and the lockdown, it's not unusual for people to feel anxious or not at peace. The Shanti Paath, or the peace prayer, is a prayer that does not seek worldly riches, success, fame, nor is it a prayer for any desire for heaven. It is a beautiful Hindu prayer for peace, shanti. It's a Vedic prayer derived from the Yajurveda. And the prayer goes:

[Pujari Brahmbhatt said a prayer in Sanskrit, which he then translated as follows.]

The prayer translates into:

Onto the heavens, be peace. Onto the sky and Earth, be peace. Peace be onto the water. Onto the herbs and trees, be peace. Onto all the crops, be peace. Onto Brahma and onto all, be peace. And may we realize that peace. Ohm. Peace. Peace. Peace.

Thank you.

The President. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Would Bishop Dwight Green please come up? Thank you. Thank you very much. Holiness Tabernacle Church of God in Christ Bishop Dwight L. Green, Sr., of Roanoke, VA. Thank you. Good afternoon to the President, Vice President, and all those that are assembled today at the National Day of Prayer.

Let us pray:

To the eternal sovereign God of creation, You have summoned your people, once again, to prayer. And the presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ and the membership of our organization around the world has, for the last 12 weeks, been joined together interceding for the deliverance of our Nation and our world that God would deliver us from the coronavirus pandemic and all of other debilitating plagues present in our world.

[Bishop Green continued his prayer, concluding as follows.]

And we pray divine comfort for the grieving families of those that have been lost and those that are yet struggling with the affliction inflicted by this virus. We pray Your comfort, Your deliverance, and Your peace.

In Jesus' name, thank God. Amen.

The President. Thank you, Bishop, very much. Thank you.

Pastor Paula White, please come up. Thank you, Paula.

White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative Adviser Paula M. White. What an honor to be here with you, President and First Lady, Vice President, Second Lady. It's a beautiful day to lift up our Lord and Savior. He is a certain God in uncertain times. And the Bible says, if two or three of us agree as touching anything, it will be done.

[Pastor White continued her prayer, concluding as follows.]

President, one last word: Like David, who had had victory, after victory, after victory, after victory, would face his biggest battle—it was called Ziklag. And they would take his wives and his children, and the city would be burned down. And he cried, and he wept, and he began to pray out to God. And God gave him a word. And through fasting and praying, I believe this is the word for you and for this Nation: The Lord spoke to him and said: Pursue, and go after them, and you shall, without fail, recover all.

Sir, the word of the Lord, I believe, for this Nation and for this administration is: You will recover all.

The President. Well, thank you very much, Paula. Incredible, Paula. Thank you.

Next is Chaplain Ibraheem Raheem. Thank you, Chaplain.

U.S. Army Islamic Chaplain Lt. Col Ibraheem Raheem, USA. Thank you, Mr. President.

Let us pray:

Gracious and merciful Lord, I pray for our Nation. I bring the needs of our citizens before you and ask that you be with all of us through the challenges we endure from COVID-19.

I pray for the victims and families of victims that have lost their lives, as well as those that are fighting for their lives today.

[Chaplain Raheem continued his prayer, concluding as follows.]

I pray for every faith community and their leaders. And I ask your blessings upon those in my community who are observing the collective fast of Ramadan.

I ask these blessings in Your gracious and merciful name. Amen. The President. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

Sister Debbie Harrison. Sister Harrison, thank you very much.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Public Affairs Advisory Council Member Debbie Marriott Harrison. Thank you, Mr. President.

Our Dear Heavenly Father, we are grateful, this day, to be gathered together with representatives from many faiths, united in prayer to appeal to Thee Thy mercy and grace, and helping us and our Nation.

[Sister Harrison continued her prayer, concluding as follows.]

We love Thee, Heavenly Father, and we call down the powers of Heaven to help us, unite us, and deliver us from these troubled times.

I say these things in deep gratitude for all of our blessings in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, our healer and redeemer.


The President. Thank you very much, Sister. Thank you.

Rabbi Ariel Sadwin. Thank you, Rabbi.

Agudath Israel of America Mid-Atlantic Region Executive Director Rabbi Ariel Sadwin. Thank you, Mr. President.

King Solomon, in his great wisdom, writes in the second chapter of Song of Songs, "There He stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice." The Midrash commentary explains this to be referring to Almighty God at a time when His presence is not visible, nor is it readily apparent. "But fear not," says King Solomon, "He is right there in the background, watching you through the window, and the lattice.

[Rabbi Sadwin spoke briefly in Hebrew, continuing in English as follows.]

"Oh, our merciful Father."

[Rabbi Sadwin continued his prayer, concluding as follows.]

Please bless the doctors, nurses, first responders, and all medical personnel who dedicate their lives to save others. Please bless the selfless community and civic leaders who are doing their part to help those in need. And please bless each and every one of Your 330 million children who make up the United States of America.


The President. Thank you, Rabbi, very much.

Now I'd like to ask the Spirit of Faith Christian Center Choir to come up and conclude the event by leading us in the singing of "God Bless America."

Thank you.

Spirit of Faith Christian Center Choir Director Tim Bowman, Jr. It is my prayer and desire as we join together to sing "God Bless America" that we will all reciprocate and begin to bless God.

[The Spirit of Faith Christian Center Choir sang "God Bless America."]

The President. Well, thank you very much. That was great. Thank you. You know, while you're up here—so this is totally unexpected, but you're so good. Do you have one song that you'd like to sing for the group and for the whole world that's watching right now? You have a lot of cameras out there.

Go ahead. We'll put a little pressure on you. You can handle it.

Mr. Bowman. Let's do this.

The President. Go ahead.

[The choir sang "I Lift My Eyes Up."]

The President. That's fantastic. A lot of people were watching. Thank you. Great talent, beautiful.

Thank you all very much. Great day of prayer. Thank you very much, Mike. Thank you all very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 4:04 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.

* White House correction.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a National Day of Prayer Service Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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