On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States and I had not voted for him to fill that role. And I’ll be totally honest… I was really concerned about what his presidency would bring for our country. I wasn’t thinking “Armageddon” or anything like that… I was thinking higher taxes, more debt, increased government, easier access to abortion… I remember walking into my son’s room that night and looking down on him as he slept in his crib and I prayed. I prayed for our new president… I prayed for God’s wisdom for him, for courage, for strength… and I prayed for his safety as the country’s first african-american president. That night, my son was a few weeks shy of his second birthday. From that night on, my prayers each night with my little boy always ended with the phrase, “Please keep President Obama, his wife Michelle and their daughters Malia and Sasha safe and give him wisdom, courage and strength to lead. Amen.” As my son grew, he began saying his own prayers at night and he always ended his prayer the same way as I had with him. He is now a few weeks shy of 10 years old and he still prays this way at night…
Yesterday morning, November 9, 2016, we woke to the news that Donald Trump would be the 45th president of the United States. It was my son’s first question to me when he stumbled out of his room, eyes half closed, practically tripping over his own feet… “Daddy, who won?” When I told him that Donald Trump had one, he said, “Oh wow! I bet so and so at school are so mad right now because they really wanted Hillary Clinton.” And in that moment, I wondered how many parents had similar moments to me from that night eight years ago, walking into their kids’ rooms and praying over an uncertain future… praying because of an outcome they had not wanted.
I hope that they will experience what I have over these last eight years… that praying for the president you didn’t want – though you might find it to be tougher maybe than praying for the one you did want… it might be even more important… because it’s a prayer that can change you… that can instill something pretty amazing into your kids… I know that my son has never once heard me express anything negative about President Obama as a man. He has only heard me pray for him and his family… and defend him as a good man even though I often disagree with him in his policies.
Today, if President-elect Trump is not the president you had hoped for, perhaps this call to pray for him might be important for you as it was for me with President Obama. Regardless of politics, those who are in positions of authority are in need of our prayer… and our hearts will be better for it as well.
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Jason Rehmel is the Lead Pastor at Eastside Christian Church on the east side of Cincinnati. If you are ever in the area – stop by and say hello! Weekend service times are Sundays at 9:30am and 11am!