``I pray that God will place his great hand of protection on each and everyone, and especially on you, Mr. President, and your family,'' said Rev. Franklin Graham, who also said a prayer at Bush's swearing-in Saturday.
Graham is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, who was forced to bow out of the inaugural weekend due to ill health.
About 3,000 people were at the National Cathedral, the Episcopal church that is a Washington landmark and is often used for government-related events. Bush is a Methodist. The church service was billed as an interfaith event for the public, but tickets were required.
Bush, a Republican, was inaugurated Saturday as the nation's 43rd president, succeeding Democrat Bill Clinton. As one of his first official acts, Bush proclaimed Sunday as a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, calling on the nation's citizens to "pray alone and together and offer thanksgiving to God for all the blessings of this great and good land."
Bush's proclamation continues: "I call upon Americans to recall all that unites us. Let us become a nation rich not only in material wealth but in ideals -- rich in justice and compassion and family love and moral courage. I ask Americans to bow our heads in humility before our Heavenly Father, a God who calls us not to judge our neighbors, but to love them, to ask His guidance upon our Nation and its leaders in every level of government."
The president, wearing reading glasses, and his wife, Laura, sat in the front row at the Sunday service and sang along during the hymns. Vice President Cheney and his wife, Lynne, sat beside the Bushes. Behind them were members of the Bush family, including former President Bush and his wife, Barbara, and the president's twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna.
``This prayer service demonstrates our recognition and need for help from the Almighty,'' Graham said. ``We affirm that we are indeed a free and independent people but in a far more profound sense, we are a people that are dependent on almighty God.''
The hourlong service also included Scripture readings by Rabbi Samuel Karff of Beth Israel Synagogue in Houston and Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Other clergy members offering prayers were the Rt. Rev. Jane Holmes Dixon, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and the Very Rev. Nathan D. Baxter, dean of the cathedral.
It ended with the singing of "America the Beautiful."
The first inaugural prayer service was held on April 30, 1789, at St. Paul's Chapel in New York City for the newly inaugurated President Washington.
President Franklin Roosevelt reestablished the precedent in 1933. President Bush's father, President Bush, attended a similar service at the Cathedral on the Sunday immediately after his inauguration in 1989.
During his Saturday inaugural address, George W. Bush pledged to lead America with ``civility, courage, compassion and character.''
Bush ended his first day on the job before midnight when he went home to the White House after making the rounds of inaugural balls with his wife.
The inauguration was held on a wet and raw day with spectators bundled against the cold in heavy coats, parkas and ponchos. Along the parade route down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, police in riot gear stood five deep between Bush's motorcade and protesters.
In one of the new president's first official acts, Bush formally submitted his Cabinet nominations to the Senate. Among those quickly confirmed and sworn into office were Colin Powell as secretary of state, Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary, Paul O'Neill as treasury secretary and Spencer Abraham as energy secretary.
Bush signed an executive order establishing ethical standards for his new administration, and moved to halt Clinton's blizzard of executive orders and rules. Among the targets were new Medicare guidelines and environmental protections.
He also ordered a temporary federal hiring freeze until his new Cabinet members are in place.
Saturday night, the new president and first lady crisscrossed the capital city to attend eight official inaugural balls. At each, Bush acknowledged that dancing is not one of his accomplishments.
``I'm proud to report, I think we've accumulated more than ten minutes of dancing,'' he said at the last ball. ``So to help you all celebrate, we're going to dance, and then I'm going to bed.''
They were back at the White House at 11:38 p.m., an hour and 8 minutes ahead of schedule - something unheard of during the Clinton years.
The first couple attended 10 post-inaugural events in all, including the eight balls, a ninth party added at the Washington Convention Center and an affair honoring veterans.