Prayer:“Lord, please help our President. Be with him. Show yourself strong for his belief’s sake. Surround him with wise counsel. Dispel darkness around him and keep him safe.”
Yes, this is a real prayer I’ve prayed. Yes, it was for our current leader. No, I’m not kidding.
I pray for every President. No matter what. It’s not an allegiance to the person; it’s out of obedience to my faith. After all, his decisions directly affect me. My arrival to this sentiment stems from my family. We have military blood in our veins and my love for social science rounded off my respect to the nearest election. This has been difficult lately with the lewd and ludicrous verbiage that grazes my ears from our President and his like-minded followers. At times, I felt my tolerance plummet to a negative numeral. One day, I was furious at what I heard from his lips and I heard God say “He’s mine, too.” That was such an eye-opening, gut-wrenching thing to say. I just shook my head and said “And grace extends to him too. I gotta pray for him like everybody else.” *sigh* I didn’t like it, but it was the Truth. I had to separate the person from the persona.
One lesson I taught my students was that the President and the Presidency are not the same. The President is a person; the Presidency is an office. In social science, it includes him and his Cabinet because all fall under succession of the executive branch. So, no matter who sits in the seat, the authority is the same.
That’s why my prayers can’t change on this one. God charged us to pray for our leaders. Hold them accountable, sure… but don’t let the prayer be tainted with your opinion of the person. The seat is the same.
So, dig deep. I know it is difficult for some and easy for others, but pray nonetheless. Everyone needs it especially the ones you don’t think deserve it. After all, what good is it to pray for only those you like?
“We keep changing the chefs never noticing the oven is broken.” – T. D. Jakes, Sermon: Destiny Flocks Together
This isn’t a political piece. It’s bigger than that.
So, since you’re here, you might as well come on in and keep reading. *smile*
I was teaching my Introduction to Communication class today and something flew out of my mouth like a free bird. I can always tell when the Holy Spirit takes over because the faces of my students look like someone punched them in gut and the echo of my words surprise me when I hear them.
We were discussing conflict resolution and communication styles. The students’ conversation turned into how the value of the relationship and a person’s stage in life can affect conflict resolution strategies. Then, I said something that made the environment change. I’ll paraphrase below since I don’t remember the exact wording.
“Sometimes, you have to admit that there are no more band-aids in the box and it’s time to agree to do the surgery. It may not be a pretty quick-fix, but if you have placed a high value on the person and the long-term health relationship, you have to agree to do the work and have a common goal of achieving a shared understanding.”
I felt it. It was a slight shift where my students thought about their personal situations. So, I gave the “pregnant pause” before continuing my lesson plan.
Depending on the value you both have placed on each other and the relationship (whether platonic, familial, or romantic), the conflict resolution outcome will vary. And just because the outcome isn’t a win-win (which isn’t nearly as feasible as people think in most cases), it doesn’t mean the issue was not resolved. Perhaps you have extended every option in your emotional storage and the other person is stuck on fueling the fire. The resolution is to accept the loss of the relationship type and get used to a new normal (lose-lose). The outcome doesn’t always have to be rosy to be the best option.
Let’s take this communication theory further. In the case of our most recent presidential election, I found Pastor T. D. Jakes’ quote most fitting. At times, we place too much responsibility on one person to fix our problems. Just like a surgeon has technicians and a team of doctors to consult, so does anyone that sits in the president’s seat. Unfortunately, just like in a medical situation, we put an unrealistic divinity on one human to heal our diseases. As Pastor Jakes said, we never put the microscope on the systemic leaks that need to be addressed. We simply change the person in the seat. On a personal level, instead of surgery, we opt for the band-aid of another partner, another friend, another job, another state, and all the while, the best option is to dig deeperfor the source of the problem and attempt to resuscitate our lives.
Since we’re all created by the same God, shouldn’t we all get along? Shouldn’t everything be perfect and no surgery be necessary? hmph. Take into account the following verse:
1Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. – Ephesians 4:1-6
Everyone is living in a tainted shell; therefore, we have to do the work to keep peace abounding in our communication…and in our country. Diligence is necessary. Patience is a prerequisite. Tolerance is essential. We’re in a time where the band-aids are peeling because the problems are too great and the blood is running freely. Let’s do better and choose wisely in speech and in our political footsteps.
No matter the political climate, I always get a natural high on voting day.
There’s something different in the air and I take it all in. Sure, people have putrid intentions and spew malicious words back and forth, but I walk in that designated voting location like a boss. Too many bodies hung on trees for this right, so I vote as I please.
I’ve taught students about the Trail of Tears and the Middle Passage and watch their immaturity show when I asked them to put pen to paper. At times, it made me angry. And yes, I’ve walked into a voting booth with a chip on my shoulder heavier than a cannon ball. I also must admit that I’ve secretly begged for someone to cross me sideways during any part of the voting process just so I could inflate my pride after marking my ballot.
Then, I got over myself. Prayer makes one do that, you know.
I asked God to make me smile with gratefulness instead of a scour and a side of gravitas. It’s a serious freedom to choose one’s leaders, but it doesn’t have to be muddy and grotesque. Everyone thinks they’re right and everyone gets the opportunity to say so. That’s a blessing (and a curse sometimes, but still).
When I look at my voting sticker, I instantly start beaming. I know what it took to get it, especially when I vote in the very spot where others were denied. I will never take that lightly. Their feet were blistered from marching and they obliterated sexist demands in order for me to hold my head high today. Threats didn’t shut their mouths, so why should the smallmindedness of others close mine?
It’s a blessing no matter who the candidates are and what are amendments are up for review. I have the right to choose. And it feels good. Impeccably good.