It’s a familiar picture portraying President George Washington praying at Valley Forge. 

The burden of the office has motivated many a president to pray. 

“The most fervent and constant prayers of mine were while I was in the White House because I knew there was enormous responsibility on my shoulders and we faced some very difficult decisions too, concerning the lives of tens of thousands of people.” 

What does a president pray for? 

“I prayed for wisdom and for God’s guidance that I wouldn’t make a mistake, that I could keep my country at peace and still preserve its integrity and security.”  

President Carter is convinced God answers prayer. 

“I’ve had enormous success in my life, in business and commerce and farming and politics and every other way. So some of those prayers for success have been answered.”  

Mr. Carter recalls a difficult situation that brought him and his wife both to their knees. 

He had just returned home from the navy. He described himself as a much more liberal person on the race issue than many of the folks where he grew up.  

“A group of people in Sumter County organized a boycott against my business. And we were kind of pariahs in Plains for a while, my wife and I both. We would drive up in front of the only service station in Plains and they refused to put gasoline in our car.” 

Mr. Carter says he could have left Plains and pursued a lucrative job in the nuclear power industry. 

“But we prayed for guidance and I think it was God’s guidance that kept us here in Plains which turned out to be very good for us in years after that.”