I have written about the gift of prophecy before, in How Does God Speak and in Words from God.    Today I want to write about a particular prophecy which was delivered to Ronald Reagan while he was still governor of California.

Way back in the early 80’s, when I was in charge of the book ministry of St.



Joseph’s prayer group, we had in our collection High Adventure by George Otis.  In his book  Otis tells about a prophecy he had received to the effect that Ronald Reagan would become president.  I thought, “Wow!  This prophecy was in print years before Reagan was elected.  It took a lot of nerve to put it in print.”  A prophecy, after all, cannot be called genuine until it has come true.  I remember being tempted to keep the book for myself.   If my memory is accurate, and if such a book indeed exists, I have not able able to find that particular edition.   Those editions I now have stop short of giving the words of the prophecy.

It was October, 1970, in Sacramento CA, when Reagan was campaigning for re-election as governor, that seven people were gathered at Reagan’s home including the governor, his wife, Nancy,  his legal affairs secretary Herbert Ellingwood, Pat Boone and his wife Shirley, George Otis and Harald Bredesen.  Pat Boone has said of the last two  “I consider Harald Bredesen and George Otis to be my two Holy Spirit fathers.”

In his the last chapter of his 1971 book,  High Adventure, George Otis writes:

Harald said, “Before we leave, I think we ought to pray for the governor.”  Then someone suggested,  “Why don’t we hold hands?”  ….Who would pray?  Maybe Pat or Harald, or maybe Herb – everyone outranked me.”…The power of God shot through me and formed the prayer and moved physically on me–and at once!  My hands began to tremble slightly from the presence of the Lord.  I had felt it a few times before.  It would occasionally happen when I was laying hands on someone for prayer, but this was no place for that sort of thing.  Not when you’re holding hands with a governor.

From Bob Slosser’s Reagan Inside Out we have the following account of that prayer:

It was hard to tell who moved first, probably Boone, but in a sort of chain reaction, the seven took hold of each other’s hands and made an uneven circle. For an instant, they were like little children, each looking first to the right and down at one set of hands and then left to the other.  Only Boone seemed thoroughly at ease, but long friendship had broken all barriers between him and all those there, including the Reagans, their hosts. He had a happy smile on his face. Otis and Bredesen were obviously tense. Nancy’s expression was quizzical, but relaxed. All seven closed their eyes. Reagan bowed his head sharply;  Nancy’s remained fairly level. The others tilted theirs a bit. Otis, standing to Reagan’s left, remembered the few seconds of awkward silence that followed. “It was a little tense,” he said, “a bit embarrassing. We didn’t know how they felt about doing that, you know. Suddenly we realized we might be a little presumptuous.” And that’s the way they stood, holding hands, eyes closed. Otis thought the seconds seemed like minutes. He cleared his throat, and began to pray, “Lord, we thank you for the chance to be here together …” It was very general, the kind of prayer offered at large and small gatherings all across the land. It was so ordinary that no one remembered much of it. “I was just sort of praying from the head,” Otis said. “I was saying those things you’d expect–you know, thanking the Lord for the Reagans, their hospitality, and that sort of thing.” That went on for ten or fifteen seconds, and then it changed. “Everything shifted from my head to the spirit–the Spirit,” Otis recalled. “The Holy Spirit came upon me and I knew it. In fact, I was embarrassed. There was this pulsing in my arm.  And my hand–the one holding Governor Reagan’s hand–was shaking. I didn’t know what to do. I just didn’t want this thing to be happening. I can remember that even as I was speaking, I was working, you know, tensing my muscles and concentrating, and doing everything I could to stop that shaking. “It wasn’t a wild swinging or anything like that. But it was a definite, pulsing shaking. And I made a great physical effort to stop it–but I couldn’t.” As this was going on, the content of Otis’ prayer changed completely. His voice remained essentially the same, although the words came much more steadily and intently. They spoke specifically to Ronald Reagan and referred to him as “My son.” They recognized his role as leader of the state that was indeed the size of many nations. His “labor” was described as “pleasing.” The foyer was absolutely still and silent. The only sound was George’s voice. Everyone’s eyes were closed. “If you walk uprightly before Me, you will reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” The words ended. The silence held for three or four seconds. Eyes began to open, and the seven rather sheepishly let go of hands.  Reagan took a deep breath and turned and looked into Otis’ face. All he said was a very audible “Well!” It was almost as though he were exhaling. Otis was struck by the calm expression on  Reagan’s face. “I was really concerned about how he might have taken it all,” George remembered. “But the expression on his face was kind, wholesome–a receptive look, you know.  It was not gushy or sentimental or any of that. He just said, ‘Well,’ and that was that …”

Small talk followed, and the visitors soon rose to leave–Pat Boone, singer, entertainer, celebrity, outspoken Christian; his wife; Harald Bredesen, former pastor, television interviewer, and minister to world leaders; George Otis of High Adventure Ministries, later founder of TV and radio stations in the Middle East. It was a strange assortment of people. It had been a rather strange afternoon.

“Questioned later, Otis was particularly struck by the fact that his prayer-turned-prophecy had been so precise about Reagan’s future. “God had a plan,” he said, “but it was conditional. It hinged on Reagan’s actions.” Most emphatically, he was dismayed about the shaking of his hand during the prayer, concerned that Reagan might have thought him eccentric. But his amazement was increased when he later learned from Ellingwood, who had been on the right side of Reagan, that the governor’s other hand had been shaking similarly to Otis’s. Ellingwood himself recalled years later that he somehow felt a “bolt of electricity” as he clasped Reagan’s hand. “I can only think that the prophecy was being authenticated to the governor,” Otis said. Pressed as to his opinion of Governor Reagan that day, he said: “Well, as you may know, I’ve always liked the man. I thought he was great. But, remember, there wasn’t a lot of talk about his being president at that time. I sure hadn’t talked about it-certainly not up to the time of that word there in his house.” Bredesen, some time later, recalled that he had been much impressed by Reagan’s relaxed, boyish appearance and by his friendliness. And he had found the governor’s knowledge of the Bible to be deeper than he expected … “  [From Bob Slosser’s Reagan Inside Out.]

In Pat Boone’s book, Pat Boone’s America, he writes:

A bunch of us Christians, including Shirley and George Otis, founder of Voice of Hope Radio in the Middle East and some others from our church had gone up to attend a gospel rally and were invited by Ron and Nancy to come to the mansion after the event for a short visit.  We happily did.  The Reagans were very hospitable and eager to hear about the rally.

As we started to leave someone asked the governor if he’d mind if we prayed with him.  He welcomed the idea and we joined hands in a circle.  We each took turns praying briefly but then something happened that no one expected:   George began to prophesy.  That is, with our heads still bowed and hands clasped he spoke as if it were a message from God directly to Ronald Reagan.  “My son, I am pleased with you.  If you continue to walk uprightly before me, you will reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”


Well if you know your history you know that as President Carter ended his first term in 1980, America replaced him with the election of Ronald Reagan.  I happened to be in D.C. that election night and when the networks began to reveal the outcome, I tried phoning the Regan home back in the Pacific Palisades community of Los Angeles.  I assumed they’d had their number changed, but Ron answered the phone himself!  To my delight, he told me he and Nancy were lying in bed watching the results come in, not at some victory celebration.  I was amazed.

“May I be among the first to address you as ‘Mr. President’?” He chuckled and said it sounded fine to him.  I then asked, Mr. President, do you remember that prayer circle at the mansion, back when you were governor?  He answered quietly but firmly, “I sure do.  I’ve thought about it many times in the past few months.”  I was bathed in goosebumps and I suspect he was, too.

Pat Boone described the incident  above to Jon E. Dougherty as follows:

Otis had Reagan’s hand when he “suddenly broke in and began to speak prophetically,” Boone recalled. “He uttered, ‘My son, I am pleased with you. … If you continue to walk upright before me, you will live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.'” … “We were all stunned,” Boone said … “It did seem to all of us that George was not simply speaking from own consciousness but that he was actually delivering a prophetic word. It was so specific.” Some years later, the prophecy came true; Reagan defeated incumbent president Jimmy Carter. On that night, Boone said, he called the newly elected president to congratulate him and ask if he remembered Otis’ words. “‘Of course I do,'” Boone recalled Reagan saying.

Paul Kengor in God and Ronald Reagan tells the same story.  He also  records that Reagan’s born-again experience as an 11-year old was so strong that he received special permission to be baptized a year before his church normally allowed for baptisms among youth under the age of 12.  Years later as governor of California Reagan participated in a prayer circle in which an influential Christian leader named George Otis delivered a message from God to Reagan that if he continued to live righteously he would one day live in the White House.

Steven Lawson, writing in Charisma talked about the influence that both Bredesen and Otis had on Ronald Reagan.  He said, “Bredesen was with [Pat] Boone and evangelist George Otis, Sr., on another much celebrated visit, this time with then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan.  Otis told Reagan that if he remained faithful he would someday occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Eric Tiansay and Adrienne S. Gaines, also writing in Charisma, said: “Some Christian leaders say Reagan felt a sense of calling to the presidency.  Christian broadcaster and author George Otis said he prophesied to then Gov. Reagan at his home in the late 1960s that he would one day occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.– if he walked uprightly before God.

Harald Bredesen died at age 88.  At his 85th birthday party, Pat Boone recounts that Bredesen pulled him aside and pointed to one of the guests, Senator Sam Brownback R-Kan.  “Remember when we prayed for Ronald Reagan? Bredesen asked. “ I have the same feeling about Sam Brownback.  Someday he may be president.”

George Otis, Sr., described as a millionaire turned evangelist,  died in 2007 at the age of 90.

Herbert Ellingwood was  appointed deputy Counsel to the President in 1981.  As best as I can determine, Herbert E. Ellingwood died in 1998 at the age of 67.

Pat and Shirley Boone are still alive according to a letter from Pat Boone Enterprises of Los Angeles in September 2008.

Nancy Reagan lives on at 88.   Wondering if Nancy might mention the incident in her book, My Turn, I ordered and read it.   I found it very enjoyable for insights into the years of the Reagan presidency.  Nancy kept a diary of those years and relates details of visitors to the White House and Camp David including how she arranged the seating at formal meals and what was served.  It is actually a very informative book but it did not contain the information I was looking for.  On writing to Mrs. Reagan I received a note back from her assistant, Wren Powell, saying:
“Unfortunately, Mrs. Reagan is unable to help you with your request for information regarding a meeting at her home in 1970. She did not keep a diary at that time, and has no recollection of the event you describe.”

Of those present at the prophecy and still living,  only Shirley Boone remains to weigh in.  I have recently written to her at Pat Boone Enterprises in Los Angeles and have had no response to date.


Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Christmas address:

Reagan jokes:

Interesting sidelights: