Praying for Those in Power

Sometimes stating the obvious is worthwhile. Throughout most of her history the Church has encouraged us to pray for our leaders, not because she stands to gain from those in power (although often she has) but because those who hold power can profoundly affect the lives of others for good or ill. The inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the U.S.A. is being hailed as a great triumph by some and as a great tragedy by others, but I wonder how many of those busy planning parties or protests have bothered to get down on their knees and pray. Simplistic? Quaint? Possibly; but to pray is to invite God into a situation that is too big and complex for any of us to handle as individuals. What the U.S.A. is, how it behaves on the world stage, the values it espouses and expresses, matters to all of us, not just U.S. citizens. We may argue that the growing power of China and Asia generally may soon eclipse that of the West, including the U.S.A., but for now that is not the case; and ‘now’ is what we are concerned with.

Today, while we continue to pray earnestly for Christian unity, let us pray also for Donald Trump and all those taking up office under him. Let us pray without an agenda — not telling God what to do, or mindlessly rejoicing or lamenting, but rather with faith and trust that God understands what we do not, that we can rely on Him — and let us pray perseveringly. The future is hidden from us, but we all want it to be as peaceful and secure as possible, don’t we, for everyone on earth?

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8 thoughts on “Praying for Those in Power”

  1. Thank you, Sister Catherine.
    Wishing humility and wisdom for our leaders, a civil and respectful approach from our leaders and from each of us and peace in our world. Beginning each day in a thoughtful and prayerful way could go a long way to moving us in that direction.

  2. I am confused about the need for prayer. I do not doubt that it works on a personal level; I have experience of that.

    Does mass prayer kickstart God into action? It seems unlikely that he won’t do what is best for us all regardless of how many pray for this outcome or how many for another.

    Ah well, perhaps I ought to ask my vicar.

    • I specifically said that we pray without an agenda, i.e. without asking for a specific outcome. We pray in order that we may become closer to God, more in tune with what he desires for us; and that is how change comes about, both at an individual level and at a group level. We aren’t trying to persuade God. Prayer isn’t magic, and God isn’t a magician. It is we who change; it is we who are, if you like, kickstarted into action (or it may be inaction, as the case requires). You may find my post on intercessory prayer useful. I imagine your Vicar will also have something helpful to say on the matter.

  3. I follow a meditation practice similar to silent prayer, listen for the answer to the the question which surely God already knows I have.
    This works inasmuch as I hear what is best for me to do as an individual. More often than not the answer is to “be still” as the Psalmist puts it.

  4. Thank you, Sister for the reminder to “to invite God into a situation that is too big and complex for any of us to handle as individuals.” I am an American dismayed by the election of Donald Trump and what he espouses for my country and for the world.

    Yes, it’s far too big and complex for us! Asking God to be incarnate in us and in our world seems like one of the few solutions open to us at the moment.

    • I think prayer would be an equally valid response if Hillary Clinton, or anyone else, were now President of the USA. We tend to think of prayer as being a ‘last resort’ whereas I think a little reflection will show that we need to make it our first resort. Blessings!

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