A local Lansing colleage, Zach Bartels, who is pastor of Judson Memorial Baptist Church, suggested a website to me. The Presidential Prayer Team is a web site that was set up after 9/11 to pray for then-President George W. Bush. It continued to organize people to pray for the president, to pray during the election season, and then to pray during the transition. Now that Barack Obama is president, they have a program to pray through the first 100 days, and then will continue to encourage Americans to pray daily for the president.
I have signed on to pray with their prayer guides through the first 100 days. Now this is an odd and different thing for me. First, I am perfectly capable of praying on my own for the President. Our Prayer Book has several appropriate prayers for just this purpose.
But I am stepping out of my religious comfort zone to pray with other Christians who probably don't ... no, I'm pretty darn sure they don't ... agree with me on matters of Biblical interpretation, who gets saved, and how much or little government should intervene in people's personal lives. I don't really pray this way myself -- for instance, I don't understand what it means to ask for God to "anoint" somebody. This is not my spiritual milieu.
But I want to be connected to people who DON'T always think or pray like I do. I want to feel that sense of Church ... Church with a Big C ... the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that binds all followers of Jesus into one Body. I respect the fact that these people -- most of whom probably did not vote for Obama -- are praying for him to succeed as our President.
President Obama said Tuesday that "the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply." I am hopeful that the same holds true for the stale religious arguments that have consumed us for so long.
Via this website, I am praying with my brothers and sisters who are Promise Keepers, friends of Focus on the Family, avid listeners to Christian radio and viewers of the 700 Club. We are all praying for the same thing, for strength and grace and clarity and safety for our new president.
Maybe in Christ there truly IS no East or West, but "all Christly souls are one in him, throughout the whole wide earth."