Story highlights

Donald Trump met with Christian and Jewish leaders Monday in New York

Trump prayed and talked with a group of dozens as he reaches out to the religious right

Washington CNN  — 

Donald Trump prayed and talked with dozens of evangelical Christian and Jewish leaders Monday in a conference room in his Trump Tower offices, another step in his efforts to reach out to an influential set of Republican primary voters.

Trump’s pastor and some close friends were also there, said Don Nori, the founder of a Christian book publishing company.

Nori said Trump spoke for awhile, but spent most of the time listening.

“It started out inquisitive and a little cautious, but by the end it was more cordial, everyone wanted a picture with him,” he said. “People had a lot to say to him, a lot of advice, (but) it was not a pep rally for Donald Trump.”

The GOP front-runner has stumbled at times when questioned about faith. During a forum for social conservatives in Ames, Iowa, in July, Trump conceded that he has never sought forgiveness from God.

“I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right,” he said. “I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”

Later that month, after he said the Bible was his “favorite book,” Trump declined to recite a single verse from the religious text when challenged by Bloomberg News. When asked if he preferred the Old or the New Testament, he replied: “Probably equal. I think it’s just incredible.”

But Nori said Trump’s faith was apparent in Monday’s meeting.

“He talked a lot about his faith. He says it’s not something he wears on his sleeve, but it was very obvious he was a man of faith,” he said. “He is a much kinder man than he appears.”

The meeting included pastors from Texas, California and elsewhere.

Bishop Clarence McClendon of the Full Harvest International Church in Los Angeles said the meeting was “insightful” and “enlightening.”

He called it an opportunity to hear from a candidate in a setting that “was unfiltered.”

“I believe there’s a reason why Mr. Trump is making such an impact with such a broad range of constituents,” he said.

CNN’s Chris Moody contributed to this report.