November 6, 2008
In the election of Barack Obama, as our nation’s first black president, we all made history together. Irrespective of our political convictions or party loyalties, we collectively share this historic moment. And while the painful story of slavery is permanently woven into the tapestry of our country’s four hundred year history, the decision of American voters in this election provides us all—black and white, young and old, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, believer and non-believer—the unprecedented opportunity to now write a new story of racial reconciliation. For that is the will of Christ. “‘So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples’” (John 13:34, 35 NLT).
And it also is the will of God that we join hands in fervent prayers for our new president-elect. On the morning after the election, Peter Baker wrote in the New York Times: “No president since before Barack Obama was born has ascended to the Oval Office confronted by the accumulation of seismic challenges awaiting him. Historians grasping for parallels point to Abraham Lincoln taking office as the nation was collapsing into Civil War, or Franklin D. Roosevelt arriving in Washington in the throes of the Great Depression” (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/us/politics/05ahead.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin). Surely our new leader, young and untested, desires the fervent intercessions and prayers of churches and synagogues and mosques across this land. The Bible commands this moral duty: “Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, for he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (I Timothy 2:2-4 NLT).
Note carefully the apostle’s rationale for our prayers—not for the cause of political success, but rather we are to pray for the sake of the divine mission to save lost humanity in this generation! For this is the “primetime generation.” In this election, you who are young have shown us the political influence you can wield. Now I earnestly appeal to you to show us the spiritual impact you can have, not on a single nation, but on an entire planet! You were born for this hour—which is why, more than the government, the church needs you. Lead us in a radical following after Jesus “into all the world”—and I promise you, the church will follow in your steps. For as history will show, you are the greatest leaders to emerge from this election.
Authored by Pastor Dr Dwight K. Nelson,
Senior Pastor at Pioneer Memorial Church