Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on becoming the 45th President of the United States. Thank you for your willingness to take on the difficult job of leading our nation. On this historic day when you will take the oath of office and begin your presidency, I want you to know I am praying for you and your family. I do so because I am a Christian, and it is clear in Scripture that all Christians should pray for their leaders. The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, writes these words:
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
Every American, whether they voted for you, for Hillary Clinton, or any other of the candidates, wants the best for our nation, and ultimately we are all in this together. As President Obama said just after the election, “We are now all rooting for Mr. Trump’s success in uniting and leading the country…We have to remember that we're actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We're not Democrats first, we're not Republicans first. We're Americans. We're patriots first. We all want what's best for this country…That's what the country needs: a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, a respect for our way of life, rule of law and a respect for each other." I will be praying for you, for Vice-President Pence, and for all our leaders in Congress as you all seek a way forward for this wonderful nation in which we live.
To guide me in my prayer life, I often turn to the writings of Rev. Peter Marshall. Rev. Marshall served as Chaplain of the U.S. Senate from 1947-1949, and his prayers have been a source of hope and inspiration to me for many years. On this day I am reminded of his “Prayer for America.” Here’s a portion of it: “Our Father, you did bless America. You have made her rich. Will you also make her good? Make us, the citizens of this land, want to do the right things. Make us long to have right attitudes. Make us willing to seek moral objectives together, that in united action this nation may be as resolute for righteousness and peace as she has been for war...Bless this land that we love so much, our Father, and help her to deposit her trust, not in armies and navies, in wealth and material resources, or in achievements of the human mind, but in that righteousness which alone exalts any nation, and by which alone peace can finally come to us.”
Mr. President, as you seek to lead us in “Making America Great Again,” I do hope you will consider what “great” looks like for our nation. As this prayer reminds us, we are great when we are good. We are great when we seek to serve instead of being served; we are great when we fight for justice instead of fighting for position; we are great when we work hard to love all and want the best for all instead of working hard for only some and leaving some behind; we are great when we look out for those who are the most vulnerable in our society instead of looking out only for those who can do something for us in return; we are great when we value life, every life at every stage, instead of choosing value based on race or nationality or ability or socioeconomic status.
As a Christian, I believe that this way of living is personified in the person and work of Jesus Christ. When thinking about “greatness,” Jesus has some instruction for all of us in Mark 9:33-37:
After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.”
To be great in the eyes of Jesus is to be a servant. To be great is to welcome those and love those who have nothing to offer, have no power or influence, and who can give nothing in return. In my humble opinion, Mr. President, that is how we make America great, it’s how we make the world great, and it’s how God’s Kingdom will come here on earth as it is in heaven.
Thank you again for your willingness to serve our nation as its 45th President. May God lead you as you lead us.
Together on the Journey,