Do You Pray for President Obama?

Posted on October 8, 2015

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By David Ettinger

The Conflict
president sealHow do you feel about leaders who hold worldviews that conflict with yours? Do you resent them for espousing secular ethics while you cling to biblical ideals? What about hatred? Do you hate such people? Do you consider them your enemy? Do you wish for bad things to befall them? How about God? What does He think about those who dishonor Him and trample His commands? Of course, if such people die without having repented of their unbelief, they will face judgment. But what about now – while they are alive – how does God feel about them?

How about President Obama? If you are a Bible-believing Christian, chances are you have some serious problems with him. This is understandable; so do I. But, the question is, do you pray for President Obama? Should you pray for President Obama?

Let’s take a look.

Something to Consider
forgivenSometimes believers forget our sinful pasts. We look at unbelievers and are quick to condemn, which is natural, but not necessarily right. When we get too high on our high horses, God reminds us that we, too, were once like “them.” The apostle Paul writes:

Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, italic added).

Ouch! Of course, we weren’t all of these things, but we were some of them. Aren’t you glad God saved you? The point is, so long as unbelievers live, they can be saved. God didn’t give up on you; He hasn’t given up on them.

How do we know this? We read: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, italic added). Some Christians say this verse applies only to God’s elect (those “chosen” to be saved). I, however, take this verse as written. I believe the words “anyone” and “everyone” mean just that – every human being alive on planet earth. No use arguing theology; the verse says what it says and should be taken literally.

The Old Testament echoes this truth: “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!” (Ezekiel 33:11, italic added).

Praying Not Optional
samuelGod has given believers mandates to pray. The clearest is 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I [Paul] urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (italic added). This verse is clear, but I call your attention to two small points. First, note the word “all”; these are the people God wants us praying for – all. Second, the kings and authorities in power at the time this was written were Romans, the persecutors of Christianity. Knowing this, Paul still directed believers to pray for them.

Another prayer mandate appears in the Old Testament. As the great prophet Samuel prepares to leave public ministry, he addresses the Israelites one last time, uttering these words: “Do not be afraid, you have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. … As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:20-23). Samuel devotes himself to praying for people who have committed “evil,” and considers not praying for them as “failure”.

Perhaps most convicting, is Matthew 5:44, when Jesus tells us to, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” I asked in the introduction if you regard as enemies those who hold a different worldview than you. If your answer was “yes,” Matthew 5:44 is the rebuttal. Do you regard those who scorn the Bible and pass laws that are anti-God as persecutors? Matthew 5:44 is your answer.

What to Do
Scripture makes a very strong case that believers should be praying for all strata of unbelievers, government leaders included. After all, who else is going to pray for them? With this in mind, I pray for President Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two daughters. I pray for Vice President Biden and his wife Jill, especially following the death of their son Beau in May revivalof 2015. I also pray for Hillary and former President Clinton. Though I am completely opposed to what they stand for, I nonetheless pray for them, as I believe God wants me to.

However, I pray for one thing only: their salvation. I ask God to touch these individuals with the saving grace of Jesus Christ that they may become citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and share eternal life with all believers. It is not always easy, but I pray, and because of it, I find myself doing less demonizing of those I don’t agree with, instead viewing them as what they truly are: frail and condemned flesh-and-blood sinners for whom Christ died that they may have eternal life.

Let us, then, have the mindset of Samuel (paraphrased), “Far be it from us that we should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for those in leadership whose worldview differs so greatly from ours.”