Prayers and promises…
A long tradition in Christian worship is prayer for those who are in governing authority. I confess this is a tradition I didn’t much keep during 26 years of parish ministry. My husband was a political candidate during some of those years and I thought (I was wrong about this) that praying for leaders for whom I had voted might seem like chest thumping and that praying for leaders for whom I had not voted might seem insincere or even snarky (there was snark in those days, we just didn’t have the word for it yet).
This long prayer tradition flows in the path of an urging from an older, wiser saint to a younger servant of God, Timothy:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peacable life in all godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
The older form for Holy Eucharist in the Book of Common Prayer (1928) includes, for weekly use, this petition,
“We beseech thee also so to rule the hearts of those who bear the authority of government in this and every land [especially ________], that they may be led to wise decisions and right actions for the welfare and peace of the world.”
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through buy prilosec cheap Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And we find prayers for presidents and other public servants:
O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
As Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, takes his oath of office on this Inauguration Day, we do well to surround and uphold him with our prayers. We do well to take up the tradition of surrounding and upholding him and all those in governing authority in our leaders in prayer week by week and day by day.
Our 45th President will make promises to us on this Inauguration Day: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
We do well to prayerfully make promises of our own. We do well to promise that we will dedicate ourselves to becoming the most well-informed and well-engaged citizens of the United States that we can possibly be. We do well to promise that we will learn what we need to know to be excellent citizens and that we will stretch beyond relying on those news sources that match our own favorite views. We do well to promise that those who govern us will hear from us, hear that we are praying for them and hear our well-informed, respectfully expressed thoughts on the issues before them.
We do well to take time on Inauguration Day to cherish the gift of being citizens in a democracy. We do well to grasp that great gift with both hands and use it day by day.
Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister