Though I have never contributed to a time capsule, penning this column seems a curiously similar exercise. As I sit down to write, summer is blazing. Joe Biden handily leads President Donald Trump in the polls, but I can’t claim to know who will win.
When you sit down to read this, the presidential election may or may not be over. The results may or may not be announced. Between pandemic occasioned mail-in ballots and the lawsuits and recounts I expect will follow, this column seems to me a distant, ominous smear on the calendar of a helter-skelter year. What can I write to such a future?
There is one certainty, however the election ends: A president of the United States will be chosen, and he will be in dire need of prayer.
Calls to pray for political leaders are familiar to evangelicals. We know Scripture requires it: “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,” writes the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1–2, “for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity” (NRSV throughout). We know, too, that prayers are commanded no matter what we make of our leaders’ politics. We pray for their prudence and success for the sake of our neighbors, even if we would never give them our vote.
But I think we can pray more. Here are four ways to pray over a president, whoever he may be:
Pray honestly, but with mercy.
Around the time of the 2012 election, billboards appeared in several Southern states, urging passersby to pray Psalm 109 for then-President Barack Obama: “May his children be orphans, and his wife a widow. May his children wander about and beg; may they be driven out of ...1
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