“Cathy, have you been praying for our President-elect?,” a friend asked me recently.
“Yes, I have been praying both privately and publicly and as often as possible,” I responded.
My friend looked at me with the kind of bewilderment that has become all too familiar over these past 2 years. I went on to explain that it has long been my practice to pray for leaders of every sort – presidents, governors, mayors, pastors, bishops, teachers, parents, on and on – all who hold authority over others- that their decision-making and hearts be filled with compassion, a sense of justice, and benevolence toward the common good. I actually feel a moral responsibility to do so.
As much as anything, my response has to do with my perception of what I think happens when we pray. First of all, I believe that God does indeed hear the prayers of the people; that God can no more turn a deaf ear to any one of us than we can turn a deaf ear to our own child or those we love dearly. Scriptures are full of such assurances, and I believe God has a way of working in the world even without anyone’s permission or consent.
Now, the way God chooses to answer our prayers can be a whole different story. Sometimes the answers are swift, concise, and as we might have wanted. Other times it might take decades (believe me, I know) to see a prayer(s) realized, and oftentimes they are not answered as we had hoped or imagined. Still, as believing Christians, we are reminded that God is attentive to all matters that concern us (and the welfare of all people) and God invites us to make our requests known. If we can pray about certain things, why not pray about all things?
What I also know is that when I pray I am better informed about the direction I am to take in the matter – what to do (or not), say, think, feel. I never leave those moments of intimacy with God without a heightened sense of awareness, peace, and resolve.
Prayer does not change God, but it changes him [her] who prays. – Soren Kierkegaard
Grace and peace,