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Wednesday
Mar302011

President Obama Prays 'A Lot' Amid Crises

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama says he's been doing "a lot of praying" in recent weeks while faced with tough choices on Libya and other crises at home and abroad.

"I am praying that I'm making the best possible decisions, and that I've got the strength to serve the American people well," he said in an interview Tuesday with ABC News' Diane Sawyer.

While the president has not shied away from openly discussing his prayer life, Obama's comments are the latest reminder that he believes faith in God has helped him navigate the presidency's difficult moments.

At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington last month, Obama described how the shooting tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, had deepened his faith and how watching his daughters grow up makes him lean on God a little bit more.

"My prayers sometimes are general: Lord, give me the strength to meet the challenges of my office," he said.  "Sometimes they're specific: Lord, give me patience as I watch Malia go to her first dance.  Where there will be boys, Lord, have that skirt get longer as she travels to that dance."

Despite Obama's public professions on religion and spirituality, many Americans continue to doubt the president's faith.

Nearly one in five Americans incorrectly believes that Obama is a Muslim, according to a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released late last year.

The poll found the number surveyed who knew correctly that Obama is Christian actually declined, from 48 percent in March 2009 to 34 percent in August 2010.  Forty-three percent of Americans now say they don't know what Obama's religion is at all.

The president has defended against the skepticism, and said that his faith has helped him endure the difficult questions.

"My Christian faith ... has been a sustaining force for me over these last few years -- all the more so when Michelle and I hear our faith questioned from time to time," Obama said last month.  "We are reminded that ultimately what matters is not what other people say about us but whether we're being true to our conscience and true to our God." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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