A couple of months ago we made Prayer Jars at Bible Study. We decorated the outsides and filled them up with little pieces of paper. On the pieces of paper are the names of people we want to pray for. Every day – well, most days – I pull out a little piece of paper and then spend some time writing in my prayer journal with that person in mind. The goal and intention, of course, is that throughout the day I am praying for that person (or group of people) as well. Today the name on the little piece of paper I pulled out of my Prayer Jar was “Trump.”
I’ve been reading through the Psalms lately. This morning this is some of what I read. This is what I wanted to pray for President Donald Trump:
May the creditor seize all that he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
Let there be none to extend kindness to him,
nor any to pity his fatherless children! …
For he did not remember to show kindness
but pursued the poor and needy
and brokenhearted, to put them to death.
He loved to curse; let curses come upon him!
He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!
– Psalm 109:11-12, 16-17
But then I thought about why I wanted to pray that. When David prayed that as he wrote in his prayer journal, much of which became the Psalms, he was praying to be pursued. He was in danger. He was crying out to God for help. Which sounds like a lot of people in the United States and around the world right now – in danger, crying out to help, being pursued and oppressed and taken advantage of and ignored and bombed and shot. I don’t want to diminish that reality or anybody’s suffering.
But in my heart, I wanted to pray these verses over and towards Donald Trump because I wanted to feel better about myself. I wanted to point out to God that I am not like Donald Trump, but that, as He can clearly see by my Instagram and Facebook posts, I am kind! I remember the poor and needy! I listen to the brokenhearted! I delight in blessing!
And so, as He so often and so gently (and sometimes not so gently) does, God said, “But it’s not about you. Today your prayer is supposed to be about Trump. Not you.” Which is kind of why we started the whole Prayer Jar thing in the first place. So today, I prayed for Donald Trump.
I share my prayers on my blog – which feels like kind of a weird thing to do – because I believe in the power of prayer and especially in the power of corporate prayer. There is something strong and lovely in a group of people coming together with unity hearts and minds, clenched hands, closed eyes, to beseech God together. I hope that through the wonder of the internet and the mystery of an omnipresent God that we can beseech Him together on behalf of Donald Trump today. Let us pray.
Oh my word, Lord. Such a mess. Such a mess. So many people suffering at the hands of so few. So many people totally missing the point of Your Word and Your Work. Lord, I know that I am often among those so many. I know that often I think the point of Your Word and Your Work is me. But of course, it’s not. The whole point of everything, Your Word and Your Work included, is YOU. Because as we read in the Psalms, You deserve it! You created the earth and You didn’t stop there. You interceded for us from the beginning. You provided for us from the beginning. On the heels of us straight up disobeying You, You provided for us. You showed us from the beginning that in order for us to have any kind of shot, a sacrifice was going to have to be made. You showed us from the beginning that You were ready and willing to make that sacrifice. Thank You.
Today I pulled out a little piece of paper with “Trump” written on it. Lord, I have to remind You of some things You already know to be true, because I have to remind myself of some things I may have forgotten.
Lord, You love Donald Trump as much as You love me. You love him as much as you love my favorites. You love him as much as you loved John, your Beloved! You love him so much that You were willing to die a bloody and violent death on the cross with the hopes that one day Donald Trump would be willing to enter into an intimate relationship with You.
Lord, You are still the king. You are the boss. You have a plan. You have not abandoned or forgotten. Lord, You hear. You are the God who sees. Praise You. The Psalms speak over and over again about how You heard, You saved, You listened, You redeemed, You delivered, You led. You are the same God yesterday and today which means You’re about the same things today as You were yesterday. You are still hearing, saving, listening, redeeming, delivering, leading. Just like You exist outside of time and space, You exist outside of and above and beyond the presidency and leadership of Donald Trump. You do. It’s true. Your goodness and righteousness and holiness are not dependent on him or what he does. Praise You, they are not dependent on me and what I do or the church and what we do. Your goodness and righteousness and holiness are only dependent on You. And You do not change. You are faithful. Hallelujah.
Lord, You are the kind of God who chased a murderer down, stopped him in the middle of the street, and blinded him because You wanted him for yourself. Remember that? And if someone who was straight up murdering the people who said they followed You was worth redeeming, was redeemable, was actually super useful in Your Kingdom work, then there is hope for Donald Trump. You are mighty to save. Mighty to save! And you can redeem anyone who is willing. Please drag this man kicking and screaming to Your cross. Please stop him in his tracks. Blind him to the things of this world. Blind him to the lies he has bought into. Please, Lord, make him useful for your Kingdom work.
Lord, You are in the business of redeeming. Lord, what man intends for evil, You use for good. Hallelujah. We know that You are working all things together for the good of those who love You. We know that You are working all things together for the good of Your kingdom, of Your universe, of all of us. You are in the business of redeeming. It’s what You do, it’s who You are. I pray that You would redeem this legislature. That You would redeem health care in the United States today. That You would redeem government. That You would redeem our conversations surrounding these issues and the very real humans that they impact. That You would redeem law enforcement in the United States today. That You would redeem how we see and perceive and celebrate and embrace diversity and gender and race. That You would redeem us, each and every one of us, in Your name and for Your sake.
Lord, You are the kind of God who enters in. When Sodom and Gomorrah turned into one big shit show, what did you do? You showed up. You sent angels. You came down to see for Yourself. And You pulled Lot, as he drug his feet, from the mess because for him You wanted more. Lord, I pray for more than a shit show for Donald Trump. I pray for a new beginning – not like a new beginning where his daughters rape him in a cave but a real new beginning. A new beginning where he starts to see human beings as each fearfully and wonderfully made. A new beginning where he starts to see things through your eyes, even if just a little bit. A new beginning where he starts to acknowledge that all human beings have the same amount of worth. A new beginning where he starts to understand that we’re all the same amount of important. That’s what I pray for him – new, new, new. Newness of life. Of legislature. Of policies. Of relationships. Of ways of thinking. Transformative power, Lord. It’s Yours.
Lord, sometimes prayers feel hopeless, useless, helpless. Sometimes here in this country I feel hopeless, useless, helpless, patting myself on the back for reposting an article because I’m not sure what else to do. Lord, I pray that You would use my words – online and offline. I pray that everything I say, do, and post would point to You and Your redemptive work. I thank You and praise You for the opportunity to be a part of what You are doing here on this earth and in the Dominican Republic. I pray for my time in the United States this summer, that I would never turn a blind and privileged eye to the suffering of my fellow human beings. I pray that I would listen well and be discerning in my speech. I pray that this summer lives would be changed by and for Your gospel. I pray that Your children would continue to rise up with righteousness and justice on their lips and in their fists, unwilling to turn their blind and privileged eyes.
I pray that we would love each other better, Lord, acknowledging all the while that it is only through Your power and Your mercy that we can do anything good or worthwhile. It’s a privilege to be Your kid, Your servant, Your pal. I pray that it is a privilege that Donald Trump will one day experience. I love You, Lord.