Lord of all life, I pray for Barack Obama, the President-Elect of The United States of America. His rise to prominence and power is an amazing story, and it seems to us that it is an indication of your grace at work in his life. Reared as a biracial child without the presence of his father, he turned his challenges into opportunities to develop virtues of character. Now, his self-discipline, determination, thoughtfulness, and wisdom can be used in the service of his country.
Protect him from danger. Our country has a history of violence against our Presidents by isolated and disturbed individuals. Help all of our citizens to be alert and helpful to his guards whenever he appears in public. Do not let us tolerate words of hate spoken against him.
Give him physical health and strength. Being President is always very stressful. He will serve during a time of economic decline, wars, and anxiety about the reputation and future of our country. There is no hiding place or rest for any President, but enable him to find the means to be strong.
Of course, we always pray for our leaders to have wisdom. He has convinced millions of people that he is a wise person. He will now need more wisdom than he has ever needed before. We know that he will make mistakes since he is human like the rest of us, but grant him special illumination and guidance when he must make those few crucial decisons that will have so many great consequences for our country and the world.
Guide him as the commander-in-chief of the most powerful armed forces in the world. It seems clear that he is not casual about the use of force that would cause injury and death of our own soldiers and others. Help him to avoid using force because of a motivation to prove something about himself or us as a nation. Enable him to discern when using force seems truly necessary to protect people from injustice and harm, and to defend our own country from lawless people.
Make him aware that our nation is part of a world with many other nations. Given his background as the son of an African and the step-son of an Indonesian, we think he has an natural grasp of the diversity of the peoples of the world and their nations. Yet the White House can be a place that isolates someone over a period of time. Keep him commited to working with other nations and willing to establish constructive relations with those nations many Americans call our enemies.
Help him to continue to be an inspiration to young African-Americans. Use his presence as our President to give your people the assurance that our ethnic background or skin color will not be a barrier to our aspirations to achieve and serve. And let his election be the signal that America is no longer what it used to be, a white, European country, but a country of diverse people commited to the same land, Constitution, and ideals of freedom and justice for all.
Let him not be distracted by all of the stupid talk that one hears so often on the radio and television by people who are being highly paid just to make sensational statements. We are learning how destructive such talk is for civil discourse in our democratic republic, and how it keeps us from being united as citizens with a common national purpose, even though we will not agree about policies and actions by our President and his administration. Keep President Obama above such pettiness and meanness, and help us to learn from his example.
Enable our President to find ways to make time for worshipping you. He has acknowledged his faith in you and your Son Jesus Christ, but he and his family have been disrupted from any normal life, including the rhythm of regular worship. All of us need the spiritual sustenance and perspective that comes from hearing your Word and tasting your Sacrament and communing with your presence in prayer. Especially those in high office need to learn the humility that comes from bowing down before you as our Lord and the Lord of all the nations. In the midst of all of his responsiblities and pressures, guide him to those refreshing places and times of worship.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.