Preface to my prayer:
I grew up in a family that attended La Grande First Baptist Church in La Grande, Oregon. In that small community, in that church, I learned to pray. Years later, while attending another small church in Portland, Oregon, I was asked to lead that church as its pastor for over 3 years. It is an experience I will treasure, one that allowed me to appreciate people whatever their circumstance and whoever they are.
One of the most special times I have on my own is in prayer. You might find it funny, awkward, or weird, but talking directly to God is my way of wrestling with my passion, my judgement, my frustration with the present, the hurts of the past. And, with the politics of our nation.
So, after a year of rancorous screaming, villianizing, fact checking (IE correcting the liar), and divisiveness, it is important to create a spirit of peace, forgiveness, and hope for a unity of purpose. And, as you might see in this prayer, I foresee that there might be just a tad bit of need for prayer during this next seven weeks of Congress 2012.
Do not be offended by my prayer, it is how I communicate with my God. He understands me, appreciates my sarcasm, regularly addresses my judgements, appreciates my passion, teaches me what is most important to Him and loves me unconditionally. Because, if you knew me, like He knows me, you would have to love me unconditionally, too.
And, just like any pastor, my prayers can get lengthy. I won’t be surprised if you fall asleep before the end.
My Prayer to God for Our Federal Leaders
Thank you for uniting America under Obama for another four years. I praise you for the work you have accomplished under his leadership. A recovering economy, a movement for equality for several groups of minorities, the reduction of war, the work of peace, the improvement of the plight of women and widows, and the creation of a wise plan to provide health care, access, hope, and mercy for millions of Americans without health care options.
Lord, I do not understand your wisdom or your ways. For instance, why would you leave the House in the hands of those who would destroy safety nets for the very ones you commanded us to protect – widows and orphans? While you recognize the equality of women by taking the rib of Adam to create Eve, many of the party of majority write and propose laws to limit the power of a woman to control and protect themselves.
I do offer up Thanksgiving for your mercy. I praise those in Congresses past for creating FEMA, the EPA, and many of the institutional agencies of the federal government that protect us from indiscriminate greed, abuses of power, while working to be custodians of the world you created, and focusing us on maintaining clean air, address climate changes, while providing relief for those who find themselves lost. I am blessed to live in America where we run to others who are in need of help, rather than running away from them.
I know that the next months will be difficult for a divided house. I understand the racism that continues to face President Obama from certain parts of the political leadership we have elected. I would pray that you would smite the hate, decimate those who would worship greed, lust, gluttony, and the other deadly sins you have named.
I call on you, Most Holy One, to address those who worship the wealthy rather than follow in your footsteps. Many have made wealth status their god and you would have no other gods before you. They worship tax cuts at the expense of the care of those in need, those orphaned, and those who are most vulnerable.
I pray for President Obama as he faces 7 weeks of negotiation with a House Divided. I pray that he and the other men representing factions within the political house are able to find wisdom, common ground and a strategy that can unite America. And, I praise you for the divine increase of women in both house of Congress. You RULE, Lord! Finally, maybe the boys will start to act their ages, with ladies in attendance, rather than make Congress smell and act like a locker room.
Thank you for your wisdom and providence to our country. Please provide us guidance as we face climate change, while fulfilling your commands of caring for widows (medicare and social security), orphans (caring communities) and aliens (immigration reform).
Please forgive Paul Ryan for his reprehensible focus on destroying our safety nets for widows and orphans yet never once during his campaign suggesting any reforms or cuts to one of the largest areas of federal spending – defense. Forgive him for his worship of false idols, like Ann Rand. This terrible belief that employees are but parasites is awful. And, forgive those who worship at the altar of job creators, rather than work for and appreciate all Americans as you created each one individually and with purpose.
I pray for the day that we can ground our swords into ploughshares, as we started to do in the 1990s under Clinton. Perhaps, with consolidated efforts, Congress can find restraint and courage. They would show this when they reduce Defense spending by only providing the DOD the funding for the things the DOD would like, rather than by forcing the DOD to pay for things they don’t use any more. I pray that the DOD can finally close bases that they have wanted to close for 20 years.
Lord, you know that I believe a strong defense encourages peace. Yet, without faith, hope and love, there can never be true peace. Can you please allow wisdom, hope, and fairness win out over ego, extremism, and greed this holiday season?
Lord, you ask that we render to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s. But, I have a question. If people get paid under the table, do not report income, avoid paying taxes, write off expenses that are specious, but are legal only for special interests, currently, or are for personal use, but they run a business, is that a sin? Because, I find it confusing to find people find this honorable in many parts of America while they complain about those who faithfully pay their own full shares into the government and currently might be receiving an entitlement. Which one is the Your Way? I hope you will not refer me to the IRS with that question.
I have to ask, is Grover Norquist the fourth person of the Trinity? Because this election cycle, it certainly appeared to be readily apparent that he might be, the way Republicans cling to him. Would you please speak directly to Frank Graham about his partisanship? Billy Graham was your voice in the wilderness for millions of Americans since the 1940s, bringing salvation to those who were lost but now are found. Yet his legacy has become tarnished by the strident and less than evangelical voice of his son, Frank, as he lends his organization to Republicans rather than by remaining in your camp, solely.
I praise you for delivering Karl Rove and revealing him to everyone as the silvery serpent his is. He spent $300 million and You, my Great God, denied him Power. Praise Your Name! I praise you for the increased representation of women in the leadership of our great nation. I have great hopes for the future when women and minorities of every kind are at the table for the great decisions we face.
Lord, do you really believe that Corporations are people? Did you die on the Cross for corporations? I cannot find in any of your Great Book words of you spilling your blood to save corporations. Perhaps you might want to visit with the third branch of our government and speak to the hearts and minds of those in our judicial arena?
Lord, I leave it to our politicians to create a path for America regarding tax cuts, estate taxes, fiscal cliffs, stupidity they create, and harms they harbor toward other Americans. I pray for the increase of our civil rights after nearly 12 years of harsh devastation of our civil rights by our own leaders! I pray for a restoration of our rights, a trust in our fellow man, and an increase of peace with other nations.
Jesus Christ, I hope that your words are heard by our leaders. I pray that peace, prosperity, and hope will be written into law this Holiday Season. While You alone are the Great, I hope you can get our Congress and President to come to a table of peace, create some certainty for our financial and tax futures, without destroying futures of some of our most vulnerable in the process.
I want to thank you for creating such diverse and wonderful people, had them come or had them born in America, that you do not see us by gender, by creed, or by nationality. Your New Testament and Old do not begrudge love, but You only deny heaven to those who do not love. Your wisdom is magnificent.
I pray for great solutions from this re-elected President, oh Lord. A resolution to our fiscal cliff, a moderation in partisanship, hope and mercy for those less fortunate, justice for those who are wronged, and corrective action for those who lie, cheat, steal or lobby – well, and bankers, too.
I have great hope that in the next four years, under your watchful eye, Congress will repeal DOMA, allowing gays and lesbians the same honors as all other American citizens.
I have great hope that there will be signed into law workable reform of immigration so that Hispanics would not be deemed outsiders, but would be brought into the tent of our good fortune.
Lord, protect us from crazy people, both here and abroad. Give us your grace to forgive those who argue incessantly, demonize creatively, and attempt to divide America. Thank you for delivering us from those who think it is in your natural order that women be raped. Your love never ceases to amaze me.
Yes, Lord, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. For this is all for which we can ask, as you have provided to us so much more. I look forward to the next four years with hope, with love, and forgiveness. Let not the last year of divisive rivalry deny America solutions for its issues. And, let us begin to reject politics of hate and division.
In your most precious name. Amen.
PS. Protect PBS. I can’t handle the idea of more fundraisers on television and radio!