Christians, it is now time to pray for Barack Obama, our new President-elect, not to curse him because he doesn't agree with "us" on every point of our agenda.
Note carefully--I said we should pray for him, not for his agreement with us on the issues. What matters is Barack Obama, the man, not his current public stand on the issues. If we, as a Church, properly support the man, God will take care of the issues. God always works with and upon individual people, not institutions or issues. Jesus died for Barack Obama, not for the abortion political issue!
What authority do I have in urging prayer for Barack Obama?
I Timothy 2:1-3 says:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, 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. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
This passage is often misread today, in exactly the same way I often misread it in the past. We are told that it says that we should pray for government policies that will advance the Kingdom. But that is not what it says. It says we should be offering petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving (!!!) for the persons of kings and other people in authority. (Note that Paul wrote this during the reign of the Emperor Nero, who was not exactly an enlightened monarch.) If God is working with and through the persons in charge of the country, the results will be right for Christians and the Kingdom. Public stands on the issues are a secondary matter.
So, if we are to pray for President-elect (and soon to be President) Obama, what are some things we can pray for?
We can thank God for his apparent openness and willingness to learn (which I am convinced is mostly real, not faked).
We can thank God that he has publicly stated that he believes in Jesus Christ (once again, I believe this profession to be real, in spite of disagreements on some political issues).
We can thank God for his apparently stable marriage and devotion to his family.
We can pray for his safety from those who have already announced or secretly harbor plans to kill him. We can pray that he will be delivered from wicked and violent people.
We can pray that God would give him wisdom, both for his official acts and for his personal life, and that he would continue to listen and that his ability to hear and listen to God's wisdom will grow.
We can pray that he would be given the key he so greatly desires for overcoming racial hatred in this country, and would recognize it when he finds it. In this matter, his desire is God's own heart.
We can pray that he will continue to develop his relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and that the pressures of his new office will not interfere with this. Stated another way, we can pray that he would continue to grow in his knowledge of Christ and be rooted and grounded in His love.
We can pray that his relationship with his wife and family would be preserved through his time in office and continue to grow.
Once again, what really matters is his relationship with Christ, not his agreement with "Christian" political positions. If the President's relationship with God is growing, God will take care of the country.
For historical examples of this, see my recent pre-election post McCain, Obama, and who is in control: A tale of four kings and a priest.