Thursday, November 8, 2012

An Honest Prayer to my Lord for my President

Almighty Father in Heaven,

You are Lord. Help me be still. And know, that you are God! You are God! I come to you still a bit perplexed and disturbed. I know that you are sovereign and that you are good, and in your arms I rest. I desire so much not to be "ye with little faith". I know, as John Quincy Adams said, that "duty is ours, but victory is the Lord's". But I also know that you know my heart, my cares, my anxieties, and my sin. And you know my confusion and my frustration, and you can handle hearing about it, even though you already know. I appreciate that you desire that I ask of you, and you will provide in your perfect will and timing. You can even handle a little anger and questioning. You are God! And you are good, all the time.

So I come to you kinda broken, kinda mad, kinda confused, and kinda scared. I couldn't sleep after the election was called. I was emotional about politics! What in the world? I know that we were not voting for a savior. I wrote about that and was convicted about that 4 years ago. I know my Savior is Jesus Christ, and him alone. I know that your kingdom, the everlasting kingdom, is not of this world, not to mention this country. Yet, I am fighting to believe it a little. Not fighting for my life, say, or for my salvation, but fighting to believe it in every context of every part of life, namely, this week, in the outcome of the American elections.

Lord, you convicted my wife and I to have carry out Indian food and pray for the unreached Tanti Hindu people in Northeast India as we watched the election coverage. And it was awesome! But I feel convicted that I allowed the distraction of the election results to reduce the impact of that experience. I was not just a casual observer to a remarkable historic process, or even a trusted follower of you watching history unfold. I was an invested participant, with much at stake, who was legitimately worried that your will would be thwarted. I confess, and ask that you would forgive me! I know you have. Thank you Jesus.

But I know you didn't want me to be just a casual observer. You wanted me to participate, and then deal with the result. And so I'm dealing. And it's not easy. Lord, you know my most intimate thought, and so you know why it's not easy, but I want to tell you anyway, because I delight in union with you in prayer, and I know you delight in it also.

It is not easy because I am nine years into my family's business, and have increased responsibility and increased stake all the time. And we are in a transition season of our company, and it is hard. The stats for success for third generation small businesses are not good. We have our work cut out for us, and many people's livelihoods are at stake. And Gracious Father, I sincerely do not believe that my President remotely understands what we are up against, even before the burdens we have from his approach to governing. I don't believe this because, although he mentions support for "job creators" and "small businesses", his policies and philosophy bumps up against our efforts, and decreases our incentives and abilities to grow and to hire at almost every turn. I don't think he does this intentionally, just naively. And he doesn't seem to listen to those who know what they are talking about in business. I personally know of no businessperson in my network that believes he is helping business. I am sure they are out there, but I do not know them. Father, please help the President understand and see the big picture of small business, job creation, and economic growth in our country. Give him ears to hear, and humility. And help me and my company and my industry be patient, work hard, be outspoken, but also gracious, as we pray for and follow the leadership you have ordained. May the President's lack of experience in business not hinder his success any more, and may he surround himself with wise advisers to support him in leading our country to prosperity and our people to opportunity. I trust you Father.

It is not easy because I myself am at a much different life stage than I was in 2008. I was concerned then, but it was just me. Now I have a wonderful wife, and God willing, before Barack Obama's second term is over, I might have a child. That raises all the stakes. And I am concerned. Lord, things that I didn't think about practically, but only theoretically, are now real to me. Things like the national debt are real, in the context of a family, and raising another generation. The cost of health care is more significant when its not just you. Lord, of course I want as many people to have health care as possible, and the least of these without it is not your will, but why is an unpopular, government-mandated option with no regard for costs the right course of action? Is that not a reasonable concern? Lord, search my heart. May there be no offensive way in me. Also, things like financial investment are more real when you're in your 30s. Thoughts about investment for kids, for education, for retirement, are no longer hypothetical. And I am concerned investing in an environment that depends on a government that is highly in debt. Is that not shrewd? I am concerned investing in an environment that would punish gains and wealth. Would I not use wealth ultimately for your glory? Am I off base here Lord? I pray that President Obama would have humility and confidence as he explains and implements his heart for these things. And open our ears to listen, our mouths to discourse respectfully, and our hands to action, lest we be hypocrites.

It is not easy because the reaction to the outcome of this election from friends is all over the map, and in some cases Lord, it is deeply concerning. Some seem apathetic to what is very important. Like many Christians throughout history, they would sooner disengage than bring their perspective and ideas to the table. Some seem despondent, as if hope is lost. Some seem elated, and almost giddy, as if their hope is in something other than Jesus. Some seem proud, and hardhearted to things I know you care about, even while they support and speak for other things you also care about. Some seem angry. Some seem unwilling to make, or listen to, a reasonable argument. Help all of us be more like Jesus. Father, I pray that you would help the President maintain and apply his desire to unite and not to divide. May it not just be rhetoric. I pray that I would be patient and kind, and assume the best in those who seem to not know what they are talking about, or care. I know they might just disagree. Help me be humble. But help me be bold, and informed, and my words be gospel-shaped and God-glorifying.

It is not easy because I know...I know!... that you care about the unborn and to be pro-life does not mean to not care about women's rights. O Father, help us articulate our compassion for women as we defend the unborn. Is it not there? Search my heart, and give me your words. Help me discern and engage with those who automatically believe that I lack support for women in need just because I would defend the unborn, half of whom will one day be a woman themselves, if we would allow. Give me self-control to communicate my passion and what I know...I know!.. to be your heart, in light of stories that are just so ignorant to the pro-life cause and what it is really about. Stories like that promoted by "Daughters for Obama", about a 50 year-old woman who always wanted a little girl, but at her age did not desire to be pregnant, and when she was, and her long-awaited little girl was born with down-syndrome and only lived to age 6, she was in deep despair, and presumably would have rather her little girl not have been born, but aborted. O Lord, the foolishness and the tragedy of this! Help me show compassion for women in these situations while defending the preciousness of the life of those like little Felice. Lord, give us wisdom and humility to do the right thing to all involved in these situations. And give the President, and those in Congress, compassion and a listening ear to govern in a way that protects women and the least of these, who have no voice, and will never have a voice, if we don't let them live. Is "Unborn for Obama" not just as significant a cause as "Daughters for Obama"? O, that you would make that happen even within four short years. You know the names of the numerous daughters who were never born.

And lastly, it is not easy because in retrospect, the result of the election was not only predictable and unsurprising, but also in some ways it is not all bad. And I don't like to admit that. In 2008 I supported John McCain in large part because he represented a candidate who would not promote himself as much as he would work hard to help the country, whereas Barack Obama seemed to promote himself, almost as a savior, in his efforts to help the country. I believed then, and I believe now, that such an approach confuses who is truly our savior, and would not only distract Christians from your global glory and purpose, but also be a hindrance to communicating the gospel to those who don't believe. And in some ways, Mitt Romney was perhaps a similar candidate with a similar approach. His continuing remarks about America being the "hope of the earth" is confusing and dangerous savior language. Perhaps this focus was outside your will, and therefore an explanation for the result. Thank you for your graciousness in giving us clarity and access to the gospel of Jesus Christ. May we honor it and proclaim it! Some day Lord, we know, it will be less accessible and welcomed. It already is in many places. Father, give the President humility to see himself and the government not as the solution to our problems, but as a helper, and an institution that can promote great good, and restrain great evil, through the structures that you ultimately have established and held together.

I see now that the result may have not been all bad because the country is changing, and certain trends are better in the open than underground, so we can have the opportunity to discern and respond to them. It is clear now that the demographics of our great nation have gone through a transformation, and any political party that ignores the scope of minority groups or issues that matter to them, will not likely be in governing power. It is good that this is clear. Father, remind me daily that I am a Christian before a Republican, a citizen of heaven before a citizen of this world, or this country. But as a Republican, and a citizen of this world and this country also, help me communicate priorities and adapt to changes, without compromising convictions. Lord, in your mysterious will, you have provided an opportunity for those who believe strongly about life and family to reevaluate the way we articulate convictions, so as not to mislead or turn away those who disagree. Help us be clear, and bold, and compassionate. Father, give us your words so that we always have a reason for the hope that is in us, and a reason for why we defend the unborn but still support women, and a reason for why we defend the traditional view of marriage and family yet still support equal rights. As Christians, help us clarify, and rethink, if necessary, our views on immigration, foreign policy, climate change, and care for the poor, so that we are in line completely with the truth of Scripture, and convincing in our efforts. Give us a clear conscience, Lord, and a winsome spirit, as we engage in these issues. I pray that the President and all our elected officials would not consider "conservatives" to be out of touch, but still a relevant and helpful voice for the common good. And may we take advantage of that openness to hear us out by being clear, bold, and compassionate in defending what we know is non-negotiable, and being humble to what still requires healthy discourse and disagreement.

I love you Lord, and I trust you. Give me discernment to speak and act in a manner worthy of you, even as it applies to politics. Give those who disagree soft hearts and open minds to hear reasonable arguments, and in disagreement help me be patient, gracious, and understanding, and help common ground be gained for the common good of all people, and ultimately, for exposure to your great gospel so many may hear and believe, and you may be glorified. Please help the President and elected officials work for the common good in a selfless way. Help your church be a light not just to this nation, but unto all the nations, with eager anticipation of your coming.

I pray in the name of Jesus Christ; Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

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