It was sometime in the late 1990s and the nation had just endured the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Like so many others who had no part in voting Bill Clinton into office, and along with many who had, I was disgusted with our president. I was angry at him, embarrassed of him, and eagerly looking ahead to the day we could be rid of him.
I remember driving down the road on a sunny afternoon and flipping the radio dial to the local Christian talk station. I have no idea now who was speaking, but whatever his name, his discussion of the then-current president caught my attention. And I took from much of what he said that he was as displeased with our commander-and-chief as was I. But then he went on.
“We love to criticize the president,” he said. “We love to hate Bill Clinton, to talk about all his evils, to complain about him. But I have to wonder, how many of us have truly prayed for him? How many of us have prayed for his wife, for his daughter? They each have a soul that will spend eternity somewhere. Surely we should be spending at least as much time praying for him as we spend complaining about him.”
Talk about conviction! I felt it at that moment because I had prayed precious little for President Clinton and, truthfully, probably never for his wife or for their daughter.
Why? Just neglect, I suppose. I certainly never made a conscious decision not to pray for them, it was just something that didn’t come to mind. I wasn’t fond of Bill Clinton and, let’s be honest; we tend to pray most for those we care the most about. Bill Clinton was a liar. He was an adulterer. Because of his actions and his agenda I saw him as an enemy of my faith and my family and my nation.
But didn’t Jesus say, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,” ? –Matthew 5:44
And did He not pray for His very executioners? “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”–Luke 23:34
No matter how little respect I had for my president, I had no excuse for not praying for him.
But, oh, how easy it is to forget! In the past four years I’m afraid I’ve again grown lax in praying for the leader of the free world. Of course, President Obama evokes the same sort of feelings in me as did President Clinton, probably worse. His liberal agenda has at times made even the Clintons look conservative. In domestic and foreign policy he has been an abysmal failure and yet a biased media has continued to cover it over and prop him up at every turn and after 8 years of watching President Bush excoriated for every misstep and misspoken word, the double-standard has only served to frustrate me further.
Obama has supported abortion on demand and promoted gay marriage and catered to terrorists while condemning or ignoring peaceful Christians and Jews. He has promoted and imposed laws that violate Christian beliefs and threaten to close the doors of Christian businesses.
Clearly, it is difficult for me, as a believer in Christ, to see a friend in President Obama. And yet, I should pray for him.
So, still stinging from the bitterness of the loss last Tuesday, I’m resolving to do better in the next four years. I want to pray more often for my president and when I do, I want to remember to pray for these things:
I want to pray that President Obama will come to know Christ as His Lord and Savior.
I’ve heard a few people snicker at such a thing, as if their dislike for the president makes him reprobate and beyond the reach of God’s convicting power. I choose not to believe that and in compassion for him and for his eternal soul, I should pray for his salvation.
And not for his only, but for the salvation of his wife and his daughters, Malia and Sasha. Even if President Obama never accepts Christ, can you imagine how his life and his presidency could be affected if one of his daughters became a born-again Christian?
I want to pray that President Obama will come to value life.
No matter a person’s devotion to women’s rights, to justify abortion on all grounds is to defy logic and reason and certainly conscience. Technology continues to provide problems for the pro-choice crowd trying to argue that a fetus, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy, is not life. The fact that children with Downs Syndrome are aborted at alarmingly high rates raises ethical questions about man’s effort to “cleanse” society of undesirables. The disproportionate number of girls aborted versus boys raises profound questions about what is really a war on women–the denial of reproductive rights or the worldwide availability of abortion on demand.
And while we think immediately of the unborn, it remains to be seen how the president and his administration will value the lives of the old and the very sick when his healthcare law in implemented and decisions must be made where to cut costs. I can only hope that through my prayers the president will come face-to-face with the difficult questions the pro-choice crowd generally chooses to ignore.
I want to pray that God helps President Obama to be humble.
I pray that our president will see his need for heavenly guidance, most of all, but for the guidance of wise men as well. I pray he will learn to at least acknowledge God in every decision and always recognize the enormity of the task before him. Only in acknowledging our weakness do we give God opportunity to display His strength.
And I pray God will place wise men in our president’s path and give him the willingness to listen and heed their advice.