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The first family says grace each night before dinner, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle told ABC News in an interview that aired Friday.

“It’s interesting listening to the girls, what they pray for,” the president told Barbara Walters, referring to daughters Malia and Sasha.

“They’ll talk about family and thanking God for blessing us, but they’ll always add a little twist: ‘I hope we have a great Thanksgiving, I can’t wait to see the cousins,’ ” Obama said. “They used to pray for a dog, until we got a dog.”

“But in the end,” the first lady added, “we always say, ‘we hope we live long and strong.’”

The president repeated those words: “Long and strong.”

The Obamas have frequently spoken about prayer since arriving in the White House. Last month, Michelle Obama told a nationally syndicated radio show that the Obamas can feel prayers that are said for them.

“It means all the world to us to know that there are prayer circles out there and people who are keeping the spirits clean around us,” she told the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

In 2009, Barack Obama said that he had stepped up his praying since becoming president “because I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate, and I need guidance all the time.”

He told ABC News then that he starts each morning by reviewing a devotional he receives on his BlackBerry.

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