Listen to the responses of two former White House advisers, Dick Morris and Chuck Colson, to election the of Senator Barack Obama as our 44th President.
Morris, former adviser to Bill Clinton, wrote in his column, "An Election the Republicans needed to loose" that the current economy is similar to that which the Herbert Hoover administration was confronted with, and just as Hoover’s mishandling of the financial crisis lead to the Great Depression, so Morris believes that Obama’s financial policies just make matters worse. Morris seems to hope that the Obama administration will fail, that it will take the blame for an economic collapse, and that this will pave the way return to power for the Republicans in 2012.
In contrast, Colson, former Richard Nixon adviser and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, wrote simply, "The new President will surely need our prayers because he and his administration face huge, serious challenges to the health of our nation and to peace in the world — challenges that, in my opinion, neither he nor any government on earth will have the power to overcome without divine aid. So this is no time for Christians to go into the bunkers. No time to wail or moan over our retirement plans. This is a time to repent, to pray more, to give more. It’s a time for Christians to lead, encourage, and minister to a faltering country in a faltering economy."
Complain and hope for failure, or pray and work for success? I am reminded of the letter the prophet Jeremiah wrote to the exiles in Babylon. To the exiles, who were probably hoping to be encouraged to rebel, Jeremiah wrote, "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper," (Jeremiah 29).
The Apostle Paul had similar words in his letter to Timothy, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."
If the next administration can do something to stabilize the economy, we would all benefit. If the next administration can help bring about a peaceful and just conclusion to the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, we would all benefit. If President-Elect Barack Obama is able to make wise decisions and give right leadership, we would all be blessed.
Prophets from both the Old and New Testament call on us to pray for our nation and its leaders. Please pray for our next president.
"We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world; that there may be justice and peace on the earth." (Book of Common Prayer)
John Donaldson is the pastor at Newborn and Mansfield UMC, and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.