Taking time to pray for our president

Published 8:07pm Saturday, July 6, 2013

I attended a denominational seminar in the spring of 1992 where the late Richard Halverson, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, hosted a prayer breakfast. He mentioned he rarely heard prayers for the president when he was pulpit guest in various churches on Sundays.

“We sin against God by failing to pray for the president,” he said.

Paul’s admonition in 1 Timothy 2 is quite clear: “I exhort  … that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority …”

The king in Rome when Paul wrote was Nero, a vile and cruel man. If Nero deserved the prayers of the church, then certainly American presidents do, too.

We should pray for his safety.

Many readers have been to Ford’s Theatre in Washington or to Dealey Plaza in Dallas, sites of presidential assassinations. These events are blights on the character of America — we believe in ballots, not bullets.

Since there are deranged people among us, we must pray for God’s protection for our president.

We should pray for his family.

Many presidents have wrestled with loneliness. Andrew Jackson lost his wife, Rachel, before he was inaugurated. He read from her prayer book and talked to her every night in the White House. Everyone needs the comfort and love of family, and the president’s family is a key part of his mental and emotional health.

We should pray for wisdom.

Solomon had it right when he asked God for an understanding heart that he might rule wisely.

Our president makes daily decisions that affect us and more major decisions that affect our world. He always has within sight what agents call “the football” — a box with nuclear codes that could bring about Armageddon.

I believe it’s this awesome responsibility that causes the noticeable aging we witness before presidents leave office. Wisdom comes from God and his word, and our president must ask God for help to rule wisely.

We should also pray for humility.

Nebuchadnezzar in the Old Testament and Herod in the New Testament were filled with pride, and God took corrective action.

A friend told me lately about a television interview with a successful coach’s wife.

She couldn’t understand the adulation her husband received and said.

“He’s just a man!” It’s true that a few bad calls or a losing season will convince his followers that he is, indeed, human, or as one of my friends used to say, “He’ll move from big shot to buck shot!”

May we not sin against God by failing to pray for our president.

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