'Acknowledge Sin' and 'Make Friends of our Enemies,' Pastor Prays at Inauguration

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Silvester Beaman, Beaman calls for unity and implores Americans to 'acknowledge their sins'

'Acknowledge Sin' and 'Make Friends of our Enemies,' Pastor Prays at Inauguration


A well-known Delaware pastor and a friend of President Biden asked God to help unite the country and for Americans to make “friends” of their “enemies” during the closing benediction of Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony.

Silvester Beaman, pastor of Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del., delivered a four-and-a-half-minute prayer that included elements that people of faith from both parties can agree.

“More than ever,” Beaman said, America needs God.

“We need You, for in You we discover our common humanity,” he prayed. “In our common humanity, we will seek out the wounded and bind their wounds. We will seek healing for those who are sick and diseased. We will mourn our dead. We will befriend the lonely, the least and the left out. We will share our abundance with those who are hungry. We will do justly to the oppressed, acknowledge sin, and seek forgiveness, thus grasping reconciliation.

“In discovering our humanity, we will seek the good in and for all our neighbors,” he prayed. “We will love the unlovable, remove the stigma of the so-called untouchables. We will care for our most vulnerable – our children, the elderly, [the] emotionally challenged, and the poor. We will seek rehabilitation beyond correction. We will extend opportunity to those locked out of opportunity.”

Unity was a major theme of his prayer.

“We will make friends of our enemies – we will make friends of our enemies,” he said, repeating the phrase for emphasis. “People, your people, shall no longer raise up weapons against one another. We will rather use our resources for the national good and become a beacon of life and goodwill to the world. And neither shall we learn hatred anymore. We will lie down in peace and not make our neighbors afraid.”

In his conclusion, he prayed of America, “Teach us, oh God, to live in it, love in it, be healed in it, and reconciled to one another in it. Lest we miss kingdom's goal.”

Following is the full text of Beaman’s prayer:

“God, we gather, under the duty of your holiness, and the holiness of your beauty. We seek your face, your smile, your warm embrace. We petition You once more in this celebration. We pray for divine favor upon our President Joseph Biden, and our First Lady, Dr. Joe Biden and their family. We further ask that You would extend the same favor upon our Vice President Kamala D Harris, and our second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, and their family.

“More than ever, more than ever, they and our nation need You. We need You, for in You we discover our common humanity. In our common humanity, we will seek out the wounded and bind their wounds. We will seek healing for those who are sick and diseased. We will mourn our dead. We will befriend the lonely, the least and the left out. We will share our abundance with those who are hungry. We will do justly to the oppressed, acknowledge sin, and seek forgiveness, thus grasping reconciliation. In discovering our humanity, we will seek the good in and for all our neighbors. We will love the unlovable, remove the stigma of the so-called untouchables. We will care for our most vulnerable – our children, the elderly, [the] emotionally challenged, and the poor. We will seek rehabilitation beyond correction. We will extend opportunity to those locked out of opportunity.

“We will make friends of our enemies – we will make friends of our enemies. People, your people, shall no longer raise up weapons against one another. We will rather use our resources for the national good and become a beacon of life and goodwill to the world. And neither shall we learn hatred anymore. We will lie down in peace and not make our neighbors afraid. In You, oh God, we discover our humanity. And in humanity, we discover our commonness beyond the difference of color, creed, origin, political party, ideology, geography and personal preferences. We will become greatest stewards of your environment, preserving the land, reaping from it a sustainable harvest and securing its wonder and miracle-giving power for generations to come.

“This is our benediction – that from these hallowed grounds, where slaves labor to build this shrine and citadel to liberty and democracy. Let us all acknowledge from the indigenous Native American, to those who recently received citizenship. From the African American, to those whose foreparents came from Europe, in every corner of the globe. From the wealthy to those struggling to make it. From every human being, regardless of their choices – that this is our country. As such, teach us, oh God. As such, teach us, oh God, to live in it, love in it, be healed in it, and reconciled to one another in it. Lest we miss kingdom's goal. To your glory, majesty, dominion in power, forever, hallelujah. Glory hallelujah. In the strong name of our collective faith. Amen.”

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Rob Carr/Staff


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.