The Day After
Pray for Our President and Our Nation
Whether you voted for Barack Obama or John McCain, whether you’re recovering from your all-night celebration or drying the tears from your pillow, today’s a good day to remember the words of the apostle Paul: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
And the new President will surely need our prayers because he and his administration face huge, serious challenges to the health of our nation and to peace in the world—challenges that, in my opinion, neither he nor any government on earth will have the power to overcome without divine aid.
How has America come to this point? Why is our economy on the brink of disaster? Why is our culture so utterly depraved?
I can only think of what Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said about the catastrophic consequences of the Russian revolution. “I recall,” he said, “hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
Solzhenitsyn was right. Indeed, I can’t find any better explanation for why we Americans find ourselves in the state we are in. We have forgotten God.
We have also forgotten that American democracy—indeed Western Civilization itself—is the product of the Judeo-Christian understanding of God and humanity. Without that revelation that man is created in the image of God, our founders never would have recognized the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Indeed, as I and others like Rodney Stark have argued, modern science and education, liberal democracy, capitalism flourished in Western civilization precisely because of the Judeo-Christian worldview.
The attacks on Christianity these days are only going to intensify in the months ahead. But we must press on all the more to make a winsome witness. Those who would banish Christianity from American life are risking the very survival of American society.
Friends have asked me whether this economic crisis is God’s judgment upon us. I don’t know.
As I’ve re-read the Old Testament prophets recently, I couldn’t help but notice the recurring theme: The people of God turned away from Him and worshipped false idols. The result was always disaster.
Is God responsible for credit markets collapsing around the world? No. We’re responsible. Because instead of worshiping God, we’ve worshipped false idols of the marketplace, credit card companies and cheap mortgages. We’ve put our own appetites over our duties to God and neighbor.
So this is no time for Christians to go into the bunkers. No time to wail or moan over our retirement plans. This is a time to repent, to pray more, to give more. It’s a time for Christians to lead, encourage, and minister to a faltering country in a faltering economy.
This is a time for the Church to get serious about Christian discipleship. Enough cheap grace.
So pray for the new President and his administration. But most of all, my brothers and sisters, this is a time to love our neighbors and to hunger for God and His righteousness.