Praying for the President
In his instructions to Timothy, Paul commands Christians to pray “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (I Timothy 2:1-2)
How do I pray for a President whose personal behavior and political agenda are a consistent contradiction of just about every biblical value I hold? How do I pray for an administration which seems intent on destroying things for which I have labored throughout my adult life and undermining the basic institutions of our democracy?
Does Prayer Change Things?
I’ve seen the pious maxim Prayer Changes Things on all sorts of Christian kitsch. But whether or not prayer changes things, I’m sure that prayer changes me. So, I’ve been thinking about the difference praying for our President makes in me.
Praying for Compassion
Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16)
We aren’t called to judge, but we can be fruit inspectors. Inspecting the fruit of Trump’s life over the years, I see a tragically broken man. When I’m centered in Christ-like love, I feel compassion for a person whose behavior reveals a terribly damaged, unhealthy — physically, spiritually, relationally — human being.
God never intended for anyone to be as miserable as he appears to be, driven by greed, anger, narcissism, resentment, and fear so that he has to attack or demean anyone who dares to question him. God never intended for anyone to be that mean, dishonest, and downright cruel.
So, I can pray compassionately for his healing; for some work of redemption in his life that would bring wholeness, joy and love; some movement of the Spirit that would break the bondage to his pathological narcissism and enable him to be responsive to the pain of others.
Praying for Perspective
I’m a news junkie. But never in my lifetime have we had a President who dominates the 24-hour news cycle the way Trump does with his relentless barrage of tweets and his persistent way of defining reality around his own delusions, better known as lying.
Drowning in the flood of the tweets and headlines, I need to come up for air now and then. I need to discipline the amount of space he consumes in my mind and soul by limiting the amount of time I spend watching cable network news.
In prayer, I am drawn to Paul’s words, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Praying for Courage
In her new book, fellow pastor and faithful friend, Ginger Gaines-Cirelli defines sacred resistance as the way we “participate in God’s way, guided by God’s wisdom, empowered by God’s grace…It provides both a vision to work toward and the traveling mercies to get there.” (p. xxii-xxiii) It’s about love that looks upon human community with a desire for healing and peace with justice…with a desire for mending.” (p. 4)
For me, sacred resistance is standing with and for everyone and everything that is consistent with Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God, coming on earth as it is in heaven, while standing against anyone or anything that undermines or contradicts that vision.
Praying for my political leaders takes me deeply into Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom and leads me to pray for courage to participate in its coming and wisdom to know now to do it.
Praying for the Fruit of the Spirit
Paul said, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Seeing the absence of those fruits in the President’s behavior forces me to face up to places where I fall short of them in my own. It leads me to pray more deeply for the Spirit to be at work to grow those fruits in my life and relationships. It calls me to practice the spiritual disciplines that open the way for the Holy Spirit to be at work in me.
This prayer for the church becomes my prayer for the President, for our nation’s leaders, and, most of all, for myself.
O gracious God, we pray for your holy Church universal,
that you would be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace.
Where it is corrupt, purify it;
where it is in error, direct it;
where in any thing it is amiss, reform it;
where it is right, establish it;
where it is in want, provide for it;
where it is divided, reunite it;
for the sake of him who died and rose again,
and ever lives to make intercession for us,
Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.
Praying for the President and our political leaders may not change them, but it might just change me.
Grace and peace,
14 thoughts on “Praying for the President”
Thanks Jim – I needed this.
John Brown 53 Wagon Trail Black Mountain, NC 28711
Thanks, as always, Jim. You have read my mind and my heart, but you have expressed it far more compassionately than I.
Thanks! I needed this.
I put it this way to Charley: “I don’t think anyone has EVER loved this man—not his Mother, not his Father, not anyone. So he has no understanding of love, compassion, empathy, caring—he doesn’t know how to love, and he does not love.” I feel sorry for him, but I loathe him. I’ll think about the pray-for-him issue; you make a great case….I’ll think about it. Lfw
Sent from my iPad
Let there be peace on earth…and let it begin with me!
Thanks so much, Jim! I have been wrestling for some time with how to pray for our President. Your insight and perspective help me refocus. Listening again to God’s direction for our lives gives me hope and a sense of peace.
Thank you, Jim. Keep on writing. We need to hear these words of hope until this Presidency is over.
Jim, a most powerful message. Thank you.
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you for the article about President Trump, it confirms in me why I very rarely listen to “fake news” on our TV, on channels like CBS, CNBC….etc.
First of all since you are a news junkie as you state, I believe you are being ‘brainwashed” into thinking that President Trump is the worst president we ever have. I hear that same rhetoric on the news, or from other people who watch it as you do. In fact the adjectives you use; greed, anger, resentment, lacks moral judgement- are the same adjectives that these “fake news” stations use.
I don’t believe you know President Trump that well to claim that every move he makes is counter to every Biblical truth that you know. Did you downgrade President Obama or President Clinton this way?
Let me share some example of why I think your comment of “ How do I pray for an administration which seems intent on destroying things for which I have labored throughout my adult life and undermining the basic institutions of our democracy?” is totally wrong:
President Obama made the most disastrous nuclear deal with Iran that was putting weapons in the hands of our enemies. President Trump is overturning this deal.
President Obama passed “Obama Care- or the Affordable Care Act” that is out of control financially for many Americans. President Trump is working on correcting this.
President Clinton and Obama made these trade deals that were not in the best interest of the United States, producing deficits on the USA side while that other countries, ie, Canada, China, Korea, Japan, etc. were producing gains. These deals indirectly effect the average American worker.
President Trump promised a wall to protect our border. He is attempting to start the building of this. Did Obama or Clinton do anything to protect our borders. How many illegals citizens have entered? Worse yet how much drug movement and criminals/terrorists have entered by the border and committed crimes?
Did you know that the ACLJ thru the Government just released a report(6/16/2018) that is naming at least 5 FBI agents, and maybe more, who released security and sensitive information to the news media for bribes. These bribes were in the form or expensive dinners, event tickets, etc. Yes Jim, these news media personnel that you watch a lot are the ones bribing the Government officials. How could you put any credence in what they say? Why would the media bribe government officials? This happened during the 2016 election and is still going on.
Undermining the basic institutions of Democracy is not done by this administation, it is done by the news media as stated above. Jim, I believe your frustration is misplaced. We need to be praying for the news media that forever are preaching doom and gloom and misrepresenting the facts. Pray that they will know the truth and be guided or report on it. I am not as well versed in the Bible as you, but I know there is a Biblical passage in that last statement!
President Trump has also defunded Planned Parenthood, that push for women to get abortions. Why aren’t you praising him for this?
To continue to demean and bash our President is counter productive. It only shows me that your writings are replete with political overtones. I don’t think that is what you need to get across.
Yes we need to pray for our elected officials, whether we like them or not. Our family does this all the time. We do not pray for them that they may find God’s wisdom on one side of our mouth, and then on the other side bounce the political ball when we don’t like something that one of them does.
Why not discuss abortion or same sex marriage, or some other controversial subject that we would love to get a Biblical perspective.
Are you providing “sacred resistance”, or standing again those things that are counter to Biblical teachings.
Finally, I enjoy your writings very much and hope you keep up the good work and that my comments perhaps show a different perspective that you may not be seeing.
Please don’t take this as a personal attack on your writing, it was not meant to do that. I guess my frustration gets the best of me when I read and hear similar rhetoric and condescending statement about our President.
Let’s always pray for our leaders, and now that the cat is out of the bag, the news media too.
May I share the prayers with others. Awrsome
Of course, you can share it.
Thank you, Jim, for your perspective. While I agree with your assessment of Trump,
I also agree that we need to look at ourselves and work towards the election of people
with courage and conviction to care for all of God’s people and God’s creation.
Hopefully, when all of the truth comes out, we will see the removal or elimination of
of Trump and those who support him.
Thank you, Jim.