“Rain down, you heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together.
I, the Lord, have created it.”
—Isaiah 45:8 (NKJV)
Rain lightly showered the Washington, D.C. Capitol grounds on Friday around 12 p.m., just as Donald Trump took the Presidential Oath of Office. And while many in attendance pulled up their hoods or slipped on a poncho to take cover, Franklin Graham was moved by the precipitation another way.
He recognized God in the moment.
“Mr. President, in the Bible rain is a sign of God’s blessing,” Franklin Graham said with a smile when he took the microphone to speak during the Inauguration Day ceremony. “And it started to rain, Mr. President, when you came to the platform. And it’s my prayer that God will bless you, your family, your administration, and may He bless America.”
Katherine Sasso’s “Amens” could be heard over the loudspeaker on the Capitol lawn where she watched Inauguration Day on a projector screen. Standing several hundred yards from the Capitol steps, the Palos Verde, California, resident clapped and cheered as Franklin shared that message along with 1 Timothy 2:1-6 (NIV), which declares:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”
Franklin Graham’s message brought comfort and confirmation for Sasso, who said she is excited to see America, this nation built on God, return to seeking its Heavenly Father. She is so excited about America’s future that she traveled all the way from the West Coast, just to attend the inauguration in support.
“I believe God is our president of the nation,” Sasso said, the Capitol building standing just over her left shoulder. “And He brought Donald Trump to us for a reason.”
Sasso also pointed to the fact that Trump referenced the Bible—Psalm 133:1 to be exact—during his inaugural address as a positive. During his remarks, Trump said, “The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”
“The fact he stood up there and spoke about God freely, that’s what we want as Americans,” Sasso said.
Sasso’s adult son, Anthony, agreed.
“It’s about a rebirth in the country and a new direction, a good direction, a hopeful direction and a direction for everyone living here, so it’s exciting,” he said.
That excitement wasn’t mutual throughout the streets of Washington, D.C., though, and hours before Trump was inaugurated, demonstrators chanted in protest. Police, fully clad in riot gear, stood at the ready.
Barbara Lisette, a woman in her late 20s, commented as she walked by that she had prayed for the police just that morning. Standing in a crushed line of people trying to access a ticketed section of the inauguration ceremonies, she said D.C. is “a city that’s divisive oftentimes. It’s a city where fear can sort of flourish and grow so I was praying that there would be a sense of peace throughout.”
Still, Lisette is optimistic. Walking in, she said it’s her hope that America can find a way to come together.
“I would like to see a unified America,” she said. “I might not agree with everything that President-elect Trump states, but I’ll always defend people’s right for respect and right for life. I do hope that our nation comes together and tries to look toward a better future, and I think we need to learn from both sides of the aisle.”
That concept of cohesion really appeals to Noah Franklin, a high school senior from nearby Fairfax, Virginia. He wanted to attend Friday’s inauguration to check an item off his bucket list, but he was grateful to know that prayer would play such an important role in the event itself.
“I feel like if we put God and Jesus first, then everything will be okay, and that definitely our country will head in a better direction,” Franklin said.
“Nationwide, we all need to come together and help one another with all of our struggles,” he added. “We can get through this together and definitely strengthen our relationships with each other.
“No matter who you are, if you have Jesus, everything is going to be okay.”