And Then She Prayed

What Does This Mean? A Prayer for the Church

Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States. Even as I type this, I am in disbelief. I am shocked, and I am saddened about the state of our country. We are a nation divided, and as an African American Christian and millennial, I will just admit that the election of President Obama gave me a false sense of progress towards unity and the fight against inequality. Even in the church, I have been encouraged by the work I’ve seen from leaders like Russell Moore and the New Baptist Covenant.

The results of Tuesday night revealed the truth for this country and for me. We are as divided as ever. Red and blue, black and white, Christian and Muslim, millennial and baby boomers, urban and rural. And honestly, it’s heartbreaking. For me personally, it has challenged my faith in humanity, but if I am honest my faith in the church, as well.

I know God is in control and this result did not catch Him off guard, but I can’t help but thinking, “How Long O’Lord?!” I will say what has held me up are my family and friends black and white that have joined me in lament, that have prayed for me, encouraged me, that have sent me verses like Psalms 3:1-8 or reminded me of while Moses’ faithfulness in the wilderness only led to two people who started in Egypt entering the promised land. All of these things have helped, but it’s still hard when I see prayer requests from teachers about the fear their Latino students are dealing with over their families or from my church members whose kids were in tears last night.  

I don’t really have words. I just keep remembering my childhood pastor used to say about faith, “faith is acting like God is telling the truth.” This election has forced me to examine my own heart and what I truly believe about God. And as a result, I will do a couple of things, despite how I feel. I am choosing to believe God is telling the truth. He cares for me, just as He cares for the Trump supporter, the immigrant, Muslims, and the oppressed. Secondly, I will repent of my own sin, the sin of placing more faith in the ability of politics and public policy to change hearts than the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

I am re-evaluating what it means to lead and effectively disciple Christ followers when it comes to political engagement. I want God to be glorified even in this.

I will pray for my neighbors — for those who will seek the good of the city, for those who choose to build bridges, and for those who are unwilling to recognize that I too am created in the image of God and have the right to feel safe in the country my ancestors built.

I will pray for unity and diversity, not the fake kind that involves us being in the same room, but not understanding and fighting for one another.  

I will pray for those who are grieving and for minorities, millennials, and city-dwellers who voted for Hillary Clinton and are now questioning the witness of the church. They need Jesus, too, and I hate what this result is doing to their perception of the church.

I will pray for the Trump supporter who is experiencing economic anxiety, who felt left behind and for those who are pro-life. I pray that income inequality and abortion will be addressed in President Trump’s administration.

I will pray for the Trump supporter that recognized his racist and misogynist rhetoric, but reluctantly pulled the lever for him and now feels judged by their fellow Christians. I pray that you would seek to understand rather than be understood, and I will pray that the Lord will heal the hearts of those whose who now view you with suspicion.

I will pray for President Trump and this nation because it has been illuminating. We are a nation divided, and that division exists even within the church. I pray that this will cause all of us to take a hard look at ourselves and seek to understand the other side. I pray that someday soon we could repent of the sin of racism, sexism, misogyny, Islamophobia, and xenophobia. I pray that God will bring beauty from this brokenness.

I don’t have any answers just prayers and the eternal truths of the Word of God.

“… you will not grieve like the rest, who are without hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

“Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation, his spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalms 146:3-5).

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

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