By Lisa Desjardins, CNN
Follow on Twitter: @LisaDCNN
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(CNN) – With inaugurations, U.S. presidents come and go. But through all of them, including the ceremony this Monday, God alone has maintained a consistent role.
This includes the oath of office, the bibles most presidents use in swearing that oath, and starting with George Washington’s first inaugural address, the speeches of the presidents.
Don Ritchie is the US Senate historian:
[3:06] “every inaugural address, except for [Washington’s] second inaugural address, has [a reference to God or an almighty power.]”
At least two presidents have said their own prayers at inauguration (listen to our story to hear which ones), and for decades inaugurals have opened and closed with prayer.
Rev. Luis Leon, pastor of St. John’s Episcopal Church and minister who will be saying invocation at inauguration this year says,
[5:17] “I think when we’re asking a blessing for the country… I think we’re asking God to lift up what’s good in us. To remind us of what’s good in us."
Leon says he thinks inaugural prayers should touch on current issues, and to him, the thing on American’s minds right now is the desire for leaders and others to learn how to work together.
Listen to our story for thoughts on why inaugurations are woven with religion, a surprising note about the phrase “so help me God,” and a trip to the vault holding the Lincoln bible.