The National Prayer Service tradition dates back to April 30, 1789, the inauguration of President George Washington.
Held at the National Cathedral at 10 am ET this morning, today's National Prayer Service -- the 56th such event -- will feature the first ever sermon by a woman, Sharon E. Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
After Carillon, Organ, Bass, and Choral Preludes, and an Introit, and the processional hymn "Holy, holy, holy!" the service will begin with Reverend Samuel T. Lloyd III, Dean of the Washington National Cathedral, welcoming guests.
That will be followed by an invocation from Reverend John Bryon Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington.
Then the opening prayer from Reverend Otis Moss Jr., Senior Pastor Emeritus at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio.
Then the national anthem.
Then the first of six scripture readings, this one from Isaiah by Dr. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Atlanta, Georgia.
Then the Cathedral Choir will sing "My Shepherd will supply my need."
Then a prayer for civil rulers delivered by Reverend Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor, North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Georgia. He will say, "Grant to Barack Obama, President of the United States, and to all in authority, your grace and good will."
Rabbi David Saperstein, Executive Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington, D.C., will read Psalm 121.
Everyone will then sing a hymn, "Lord, make us servants of your peace."
The Most Reverend Francisco Gonzalez, S.F., Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, will read from Romans.
Then a performance of "He's got the whole world in his hands."
Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, New York City, will offer the third reading from Matthew.
A hymn, "Great is thy faithfulness," will follow.
Then the sermon by Reverend Dr. Sharon Watkins.
Then the President of the U.S. Dream Academy in Columbia, Maryland, Dr. Wintley Phipps, will sing "Amazing grace!"
In a nod to the American tradition of religious tolerance and freedom, six religious leaders will lead responsive prayers:
∙ Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President, Islamic Society of North America, Hartford, CT;
∙ Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York, NY;
∙ Rev. Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners, Washington, D.C.;
∙ Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President, Hindu Temple Society of North America, New York City;
∙ Rev. Suzan Johnson-Cook, Senior Pastor, Bronx Christian Fellowship, New York City;
∙ Rabbi Jerome Epstein, Director, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, New York City;
∙ Rev. Carol Wade of the Washington National Cathedral; and
∙ Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, Senior Pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church, Houston, TX.
Lookstein will say, "May the President, Vice President, Members of the Cabinet, Governors of States and Territories, Mayors of Cities, and all in administrative authority who are empowered by our sacred trust lead this nation with wisdom and grace as they seek to serve the common good."
Then the Lord's Prayer, to be said by everyone.
A prayer for the nation will be delivered by Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C.
"American the Beautiful" will then be sung by the Cathedral Choir.
Then a closing prayer provided by Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church. This will be drawn in part from President Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, for anyone missing a Lincoln reference.
Schori will ask God to "Strengthen and sustain Barack, our President, that in the days to come he may lead your people with confidence and compassion."
A blessing and dismissal will follow, from the Reverend Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America.
A hymn for the healing of nations will follow, after which the National Cathedral Organist, Scott Dettna, will play an organ postlude as the president and vice president depart.