Would You Pray For The President?
I saw a photo today in my Facebook feed of a bunch of evangelical Christian pastors and church leaders laying hands on President Trump in the White House as they prayed for him.
Out of curiosity, I glanced at some of the comments to the photo, left by scores of people who saw it and interpreted it in a variety of ways. Not surprisingly, the reactions ranged from gushing approval to absolute revulsion.
I have to confess that I'm pretty cynical about White House photo opportunities. White House photos are worth a thousand words, and they can easily be used to manipulate, distract or pander.
I'm also not all that keen on the ways that politicians try to co-opt Jesus for their particular agendas. And, since we're being honest, I'm not at all a fan of Christian leaders who use their proximity to power for their own benefit---whatever their political bent.
But the photo prompted me to ask myself a question: If I was invited, would I go and pray for the President? The answer, which came from my gut, was simply this: I hope so.
I would hope that if I was called upon, I would go to the White House, lay hands on the President and pray without even thinking about it---no matter who the President happened to be.
Because when we've lost the ability to put aside our differences and pray for our leaders (even those we cannot possibly agree with), we've lost our sense of what it means to follow Jesus fully and wholly---we've lost sight of our "True North."
Jesus said something interesting that I think helps us navigate these kinds of issues. He told his disciples as he was sending them out to do ministry:
11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.
My job as a follower of Jesus is to proclaim the Good News, to pray, to seek healing for those who are sick, broken and hopeless. My job is to bear witness to the redemptive power of God's grace through Jesus, who came to give abundant life to all of Creation.
My job is to let the shalom (the peace of God) rest on people, and if they don't receive that peace, or choose to turn and work in opposition to it in the world---that's between them and God.
May you find the strength to pray that the peace of God will fall upon your elected officials---even the ones you didn't vote for. May you pray fervently for them to seek and discover God's will for them and for the world. And may you surrender the outcomes to God, and may you be at peace.