A pastor from Delaware and long-time friend of President-elect Joe Biden prayed at the end of the inauguration, with a friend of the family and Jesuit priest also praying during the ceremony.
Rev Dr Silvester Beaman (pictured above) leads Bethel AME Church in the city of Wilmington and said in a Facebook post before the ceremony that it was “an extreme honour and seminal moment” to have been asked by the president-elect to pronounce the benediction.
He prayed for the President and Vice President and their families and continued in prayer:
"Discovering our humanity, we will seek the good in and for all our neighbours. We will love the unlovable, remove the stigma of the so-called untouchables who care for our most vulnerable our children, the elderly, emotionally challenged and the poor. We will seek rehabilitation beyond correction, we will extend opportunity to those locked out of opportunity. We will make friends of our enemies, we will make friends of our enemies. People, your people, shall no longer raise up weapons against one another, we will rather use our resources for the national good and become a beacon of life and goodwill to the world. And neither shall we learn hatred anymore. We will lie down in peace, not make our neighbours afraid. In you, Oh God, we discover our humanity. In our humanity we discover our commonness, beyond the difference of colour, creed, origin, political party, ideology, geography and personal preferences. We will become greatest stewards of your environment, preserving the land, reaping from it a sustainable harvest and securing it's wonder and miracle-giving power for generations to come.
"This is our benediction, that from these hallowed grounds where slaves laboured to build this shrine and citadel to liberty and democracy. Let us all acknowledge, from the indigenous Native American, to those who recently received their citizenship, from the African American to those whose fore-parents came from Europe and every corner of the globe, from the wealthy to those struggling to make it, for every human being regardless of their choices, that this is our country. As such teach us, Oh God, to live in it. love in it, be healed in it and reconcile to one another in it. Lest we miss Kingdom's goal. To your glory, majesty, dominion and power, forever. Hallelujah! Glory! Hallelujah! In the strong name of our collective faith, Amen."
President-elect Biden met Beaman in 1993 and Beaman became friends with Biden's late son Beau. Joe Biden also visited Bethel AME Church last summer to speak with community leaders about the effects of George Floyd’s death.
A Catholic, Jesuit priest delivered the invocation at Mr Biden’s inauguration, saying:
"For our new President, we beg of you the wisdom Solomon sought when he knelt before you and prayed for an 'understanding heart, so that I can govern your people and know the difference between right and wrong'. We trust in the counsel of the letter of James, 'If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to you'.
"Pope Francis has reminded us how important it is to dream together. By ourselves, he wrote, we risk seeing mirages, things that are not there. Dreams, on the other hand, are built together. Be with us, holy mystery of love, as we dream together. Help us, under our new president, to reconcile the people of our land, restore our dream and invest it with peace and justice and the joy that is the overflow of love. To the glory of your name, forever. Amen."
Fr Leo O'Donovan, who is also a long-time friend of Biden and his family and former President of Georgetown University, led the funeral Mass for Mr Biden’s son, Beau, in 2015 after he died of brain cancer.
Mr Trump had already announced that he would not be attending Mr Biden’s inauguration and will be in Florida.
At previous inaugurations, the incoming and outgoing presidents have travelled from the White House to the Capitol together.