Do you ever experience a night in which sleep becomes secondary to prayer and in which outcries to Jesus become as natural as breathing and every bit as desperate? Last night was that kind of night for me and, I suspect, for many others, simply because of the sense of urgency around this presidential election and all that is at stake in the days ahead.
May I speak to you about the nature of my prayer today, in the hope that my feeble petitions might resonate with your own prayerful spirit?
I am praying for President-elect Trump, that his heart will break for the issues that matter most; that the noblest portions of his character will find dynamic expression in his leadership; that repentance, where necessary, will become authentically transformational for him; and that his presidency will be devoted to the kind of work that broadens our country’s grandness (in the most honorable sense of what grandness means).
I am praying for President-elect Trump’s family members, that they will be protected as much as possible from the harm that global scrutiny so frequently causes and that they might be inspired to love and nurture one another with intentionality and integrity in these days of important transition.
I am praying for Secretary Clinton and her family, that they might experience a profound sense of rest and accomplishment today.
I am praying for the healing of a nation that is starkly and frighteningly divided and whose divisions reflect substantial ideological differences that cannot be reduced to Facebook pronouncements and a smug dismissal of “the other.” I hold in my heart today my dear friends who see this election as a long-awaited answer to prayer. I also hold in my heart my dear friends who see this election as a bold exclamation point on America’s moral and cultural decline. Both types of people are part of the nation that President-elect Trump is preparing to lead. Both must be taken seriously.
I am praying for those who have felt wounded, mistreated, and diminished throughout this election season, that their vision and hope might be fully restored.
I am praying that the people of our great country (elected leaders and neighbors on the block or in the pew) will move toward a more comprehensive, reasoned, authentic, and respectful way of talking with one another about the vitally important matters that this election season has illuminated—including issues of race, gender, immigration, abortion, gun control, and healthcare. I long for the kind of sustained and integrated dialogue in which people refuse to become so exclusively fixated on their own viewpoints that they can no longer value the perspectives and experiences of others.
Finally, I am praying for the church, which is the portion of the world where I spend most of my time and where I invest most of my hope and energy. May the church commit itself afresh to the healing of a nation and to the hearing of all voices. May its people devote themselves anew to the work of justice, mercy, and Gospel-grounded transformation. And may its sacrificial ministry be a prophetic indication to the world that, while the church approaches the election of our political leaders with reverent seriousness and commitment, our deepest hope lies in the reign of God and the reconfigured lives and communities that God’s grace makes possible.
Breathe in, friends. Breathe out. Pray deeply. Be gentle with one another. And then meditate on this: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)