In an Oval Office address Friday, President Donald Trump called on Americans to pray for God to “heal our nation,” before asking a clergy member to offer an Easter blessing.
“On this Good Friday, Christians from all around the world remember the suffering and death upon the cross of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ,” Trump began his remarks.
“At Easter Sunday, we will celebrate his glorious resurrection,” he continued.
“At this holy time, our nation is engaged in a battle like never before with the invisible enemy,” the president said in reference to the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump acknowledged the challenging work and long hours that doctors, nurses and first responders are undertaking during the pandemic, and the sacrifices that all Americans are making to fight COVID-19.
“Though we will not be able to gather together with one another as we normally would on Easter, we can use this sacred time to focus on prayer, reflection and growing in our personal relationship with God, so important,” he said.
Trump next listed specific prayer points.
“I ask all Americans to pray that God will heal our nation, to bring comfort to those who are grieving, to give strength to the doctors, nurses and health care workers, to restore health to the sick and to renew the hope in every person who is suffering,” he said.
The president thanked those who are praying for him and his family, as well as the second couple, Vice President Mike and Karen Pence, saying he is feeling their prayers.
Trump expressed his faith that the country would come through the present difficulties “like never before,” and then quoted from the biblical prophet Isaiah.
“Darkness covers the earth, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light,” Trump said, quoting the prophet.
He next invited Bishop Harry Jackson from Hope Christian Fellowship in Beltsville, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., to offer an Easter blessing.
The clergyman referenced the Passover story in the Bible’s book of Exodus, when a plague went through the land of Egypt, but did not come into the Jewish homes marked with lamb’s blood on their doorposts and lintels.
“Lord, let the death angel pass over,” Jackson prayed.
“Let there be a mitigation of this plague, this disease. Let medical science come forth. Lord, let us come out with a thriving economy.”
The bishop asked God to cover Americans “with a cloud by day and a fire by night” like he did for the children of Israel, as recorded in the book of Exodus.
Jackson then prayed that Trump and Pence would experience “wisdom beyond their natural limitations. Give them insight, so they can cover us, lead us and bless us. We bless them and America in Jesus’ name.”
“Be encouraged, hope is on the way.”
Rev. Franklin Graham plans to hold an Easter service from Central Park in New York City on Sunday.
His message will be broadcast on Fox News.
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