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Evangelist Franklin Graham prepares for role in Trump's inauguration

By: Emily McFarlan Miller Religion News Service
January 15, 2017 Updated: January 15, 2017 at 4:30 am
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Evangelist Franklin Graham speaks to media in front of his bus after a mass prayer rally on Boston Common, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, in Boston. Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, is holding a 50-state "Decision America" tour to urge evangelicals to vote. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

The Rev. Franklin Graham isn't sure which Scripture he'll read at Friday's inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

The evangelist won't get to make remarks at the event, but he will get to pick his own Bible passage, which could say a lot.

Will it be something hopeful to heal a divided nation? Something pointed about the importance of praying for leaders?

"You want it to be meaningful not only to your president-elect, but you want it to be meaningful also to the nation," Graham said. "I'm taking time just to pray and ask God to give me wisdom and guidance because it's a responsibility that I take very seriously."

This is the third inauguration Graham will have attended, he noted. The first was to assist his father, Billy Graham, at the second inaugural of President Bill Clinton in 1997; the second, to offer the invocation at the first inaugural of President George W. Bush in 2001.

It follows his Decision America Tour, during which he held rallies in each of the 50 state capitals to urge evangelical Christians to pray about the upcoming election and vote for candidates of any party who agree with their values.

Weeks before launching the tour, Graham announced he had resigned from the Republican Party and declared himself an independent. And he was careful to note throughout the campaign that he endorsed neither Trump, a Republican, nor Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

But, he said, he got the sense "God was going to do something in our country - just from the people coming early in the day, standing in hot sun, standing in freezing cold, standing in snow, standing in rain, and they came to pray. They didn't come to hear me. They came to pray for their nation."

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