Political commentary is not my thing. I have intentionally avoided blogging about politically charged topics with one or two exceptions. “Potty Talk” (October 3, 2018) and “Make America Good Again?” (February 8, 2019) both spoke to the nastiness that pervades our political dialogue. Today, however, I cannot resist the opportunity to do so again, but from a different perspective.
Few would argue that our last two Presidents are close to being polar opposites. If you loved one, you hated the other. The 2016 Presidential election offered a similar contrast in positions. I think anyone who professes to follow Christ had some tough choices to make in that election. Neither candidate could be said to be a good role model, much less Presidential material. It is tempting to wash our hands of the political process and isolate ourselves from culture. Yes, we should be careful not to be aligned too closely with any party in power or as one commentator put it, “always remember our salvation didn’t arrive on Air Force One.” But it is a far more dangerous act not to be a vocal witness in the public square. In a democratic republic, the command to be “salt” and “light” is essential to promote that which is good and restrain that which is evil.
What seems to be lacking in the Christian community is a passion for praying for our leaders, regardless of their Party affiliation. At a time when religious liberties are under full-scale assault, let us remember the admonition by the Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 2:1-4), “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
How do we do that? What do we pray for? In January of 2018, Dr. James Dobson urged Christians everywhere to pray for our President. Here are the prayer points from Dr. Dobson:
- Lord, speak to President Trump’s heart.
- Draw him relentlessly to you.
- Give him wisdom and strength to handle his daily responsibilities.
- Give him wisdom in international relations, especially regarding North Korea, Iran, and Israel.
- Protect this nation and his family from danger.
- Bless our churches, schools, farms, businesses, military, and institutions.
- Pray for this generation of children who have been subjected to wickedness that we have never seen in our history.
- Pray for our country, founded on the Bible—may God lead us in perilous days, revitalize the Church, fill our hearts with love, and soften the hearts of people for spiritual renewal.
Sounds like a good prayer guide regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.
Those who know me, know that I lean toward the conservative end of the political spectrum. I was not a fan of Obama, and frankly, have not been a fan of Trump, although I have liked a number of things he has done. So this blog post is as much a letter to myself as it is a commentary for my readers as I too have struggled with how to respond to the last two Presidents.
As far as how we should respond to a president in power with whom we disagree (or in my case of mixed emotions), I like the approach suggested by journalist David French. “It’s not hard to be a Christian in the age of Trump. It’s really not. You applaud him when he does good things, critique him when he does bad things, and never, ever forsake your larger religious and cultural voice for the sake of secular political tribalism.” And I might add… “and always keep him in prayer.”
I plan to keep that quote handy and just change the name of the President after each election.
It will keep me sane, hopefully objective, and humbly prayerful.