Inaugurations are regular and important events in our national life. They mark the uniquely American method of the transfer of presidential power. Every four years since 1789 there has been a presidential inauguration. Some have been somber occasions, some have been joyful. But they are all significant.
Each inauguration is typically the result of an election, the exception being when a president dies in office. And elections mean that one party won and one party lost. Some years this is a source of more distress than others. In my personal memory, there is more angst and anger and fear surrounding this inauguration than previous inaugurations.
There are people who are afraid. They are afraid based on comments from the President elect himself. There are people who are worried. They are worried based on the behavior of the President elect. There are people who are concerned. They are concerned at who they see making up the President’s cabinet and close advisors. I find myself among these afraid, worried, and concerned people.
One of the things Christians are called to do is pray. And the most difficult command of Jesus is to love our enemies. Part of fulfilling that command involves praying for our enemies, or those whom we believe are our enemies. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that is a hard prayer to pray well.
Praying, “God fix *insert name here*.” Is not, I think, the best prayer. I know this because I have spent plenty of time praying prayers like it.
So here, for what it is worth, is my attempt at a “better” prayer for President Trump. I need to write it out because this is a difficult prayer for me to pray. I need to think hard about what to say and how I say it. It will take a lot of practice before this prayer will come easily to me.
This is a difficult prayer for me, and honestly, right now my heart is not in it. I am trying to be obedient to your command. I am angry and worried and sad about Mr. Trump’s presidency and I confess a big part of me does not want to pray for him. I would, however, be glad to pray against him. Being petty and mean come more easily than love and grace. Forgive me. Help me to do better.
Please give Mr. Trump wisdom, compassion, and insight. Help him to discern our common good and to work for it. Grant him a heart and mind that longs for justice and peace. Help him to foster true unity, to encourage all of us in acts of kindness, and to call us to work for justice. Give his advisors wisdom and intelligence and the ability to speak the truth to the President. Help them to advocate for all citizens.
Grant our leadership a broad, inclusive vision for our nation and our world. A vision based not on fear and profit but justice and peace- where there is access to food and shelter for all, where work pays a living wage, access to education and health care for all. Help us all to work toward a nation where every child can dream and then are able to pursue their dream.
Lord give me the humility and courage to support Mr. Trump when he works for good. Give me the courage and strength to oppose Mr. Trump when circumstances require it.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen