I went to church to worship today and I prayed. I prayed for my family. Praying for my family is pretty much a given every day, not just on Sunday. I prayed for the nation. I do that a lot too but not nearly as often. I prayed for many, many other people and things.
And yes, I prayed for the president-elect. It was an earnest prayer. It was a difficult prayer. It was an open prayer. It was as much about asking God what all this means as it was what I should do about it.
I prayed that the president-elect would not govern the same way he campaigned.
I prayed that, if God was willing, the president-elect would reconsider some of the actions he said he would pursue. Things like. Building the wall. Burning more coal. A travel ban on Muslims. Eliminating access to affordable health insurance. Increasing tax breaks for the affluent.
But most of all I prayed that everyone, particularly the young people out there, would, despite what they may have read and seen regarding Mr. Trump’s supporters, not confuse Republican policies with Jesus’ teachings.
I prayed that people would read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-8). I prayed that everyone would know that Jesus taught …
- That we shouldn’t get all caught up on how much taxes we pay. That God wants us to deal with more important things. That we should “render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s” and then focus on rendering unto God what is God’s.
- That the love of money and material things are the thorns that stifle God’s word and choke out the work of the Holy Spirit. That the love of money is the root of all types of evil. That we should not try to store up treasures on earth, but rather treasures in heaven.
- That we should love our neighbors and that God wants us to define “neighbors” as Samaritan types (modern-day Muslims?) who worship a different God, believe different things, worship a different way, and are suspect and despised by society.
- That our focus should be on doing whatever we can to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, minister to the sick (like healthcare), and care for the widows and orphans (even if they come from Syria).
- That we should not only love our enemies but when folks ask for a shirt, we give them our coat.
- That the people who are right before God are not the pious religious folks who wear their faith on their sleeves and show up on talk shows and news programs … rather they are the repentant sinners who sit in the back pew, often neglected, begging for God’s mercy. That the truly blessed are people who are humble, meek and poor in spirit.
- That we should be wary of false prophets who show up saying that they speak in Jesus’ name. That we would know these false prophets by their fruits of their work … the mercy, grace, and sacrifice that they make for others.
Overall, I prayed that people judge Christian practice by the sayings of Jesus, and not the circumstances of an election.
I prayed that people would know that this is what he was talking about when he said that if we follow his commands, “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
And with that, I said “Amen.”
May God’s will be done.