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March 3, 2009

Presidential Prayer Effort Proves to be Bipartisan

A national grass-roots network that came together after the 9/11 terrorist attacks for the sole purpose of praying for the president has lost more than 25,000 members since Barack Obama's election last November.

But in that same time, more than 41,000 have signed up.

For John Lind, president of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Presidential Prayer Team, those figures indicate that the ministry that aimed to be nonpartisan when it began in 2001 has lived up to its mission.

"The only ... president we've been under has been (George W.) Bush, so you've got to be realistic and say, `Wow, this could be a substantial dip in our database,' but it wasn't," he said in an interview. "I think it's a positive. It's almost two-to-one new member to unsubscribed."

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That doesn't mean it's been a smooth transition for all of the nearly half-million members who receive weekly e-mail updates guiding them in how to pray for the president. Some have sent the ministry messages saying that it has been "very difficult" to move from praying for Bush to praying for Obama.

"I did not want to pray for Obama because I didn't vote for him, but then I realized that I had to pray for him, and it has literally changed my life to pray for him," wrote a woman who only signed her name as "Betty."

"God really changes our hearts if we allow him to do so. So, thank you for your part in getting us all together."

Other team members, like Barbara Brown from Foresthill, Calif., said they realized that they needed to put prayer ahead of politics after Election Day.

Brown was quoted in a recent profile on the ministry's Web site: "I still have to remind some of my Democrat friends that no, President Obama did not inherit all of our nation's problems from President Bush's administration, and I have to remind some of my Republican friends that even though we did not vote for President Obama, he is now our president and he deserves our respect, honor and prayers as commanded by God."

Lind said since the ministry went online in 2001 it has had 1.7 million people take part in its initiatives, which include praying for not only the president and his administration but military members and grandparents.

The site featured several "40 Days to Pray the Vote" projects leading up to the election and "77 Days of Prayer" between Election Day and Inauguration Day. The latest initiative is "Praying Through the 1st 100 Days" of the Obama presidency; more than 31,500 people have signed up for a daily e-mail that provides them with a verse of Scripture and a short prayer at the start of each day.

"It just kind of jump-starts their day," said Lind.

Officials of the ministry say they don't have specific information about the party or church affiliation of their members, but they believe most have traditionally been evangelical Christians.

Peggy Gustave, who directs member services, estimates that about 95 percent are Christian. She is aware of some Jewish members and at least one Baha'i member. On a recent day, she said she received 1,500 e-mail messages.

"I think with some people, they kind of want to be encouraged to pray for this president, even if they see that some of his agenda may not follow their bent," she said. "We refer them back to our mission Scripture, ... which says to pray for those in authority over us. Period."

Lind offered similar encouragement when he recorded his latest message for "Presidential Club" members who donate $25 or more a month to the ministry, saying the prayer efforts for the Obama administration are necessary.

"He and his administration are facing ... enormous things on their plate," Lind said he told them. "We can't let our guard down."

In that message, Lind also mentioned that he and six board members prayed with Bush in person during a 26-minute visit to the Oval Office on his last full day as president.

He called the meeting "just a terrific time."

Bush spokesman Rob Saliterman confirmed that team members met with the former president on Jan. 19.

Lind said team officials hope to have the same opportunity with Obama.

"We've tried to kind of let the dust settle a little bit," he said. "We want an appointment with President Obama."

Comments

This is a lovely initiative. I've been praying every day for President Obama since way before he was elected. Here's the prayer I've been saying, which I offer as a gift for anyone who would like it:

O GOD, ALMIGHTY PROTECTOR! O Thou Who art the confirmer of every just power and equitable empire in eternal glory, everlasting power, continuance and greatness! Strengthen with the abundance of Thy mercy every government which acts with equity towards its subjects, and every dominion under whose flag the poor and weak find protection. We ask Thee by Thy holiness and bounty to pour out Thy blessing upon this government which has stretched its tent over citizens from every land, that its inhabitants, its industries, its territories may be penetrated by justice.

O God! Strengthen its executives, give authority and influence to its word and utterance, protect its territories and dominions, guard its reputation, make its ideals to echo throughout the world, reveal its traces and exalt its principles by Thy conquering power and wonderful might throughout the kingdoms of creation. Thou art the confirmer of whomsoever Thou willest.

Verily, Thou art the powerful and the mighty!
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This is from the Baha'i writings and is around 100 years old. I hope you enjoy it.

There was no listing of a website in this article, but I'd be interested in the URL if anyone would like to post it. Thanks!

Warmly, Wendy

Since Obama became president, I sure pray more. Every time he signs something I pray for God to help us.

Yes, I too have been praying daily for Obama at Mass. It's hard sometimes, when his arrogance still 'reigns supreme' at his addresses to the nation and his press conferences. We are called to 'love the unlovable' and it doesn't get more unlovable than a President who's willing to have his own grandchild aborted so his daughters, if they made a "mistake." He sees his own grandson or grand daughter as "punishment" and his abortion agenda has not changed. It's hard to pray for the unlovable, but as we are grateful to our Lord, "while we were yet sinners, he came to love us and to save us..."

I meant to type, "so his daughters would not be punished with a baby" in the above comment. I must have been distracted. I also want to say, that I do believe we must pray for our leaders as God directs us, but sometimes I do struggle when I don't see 'change' I hope for occurring (or occurring faster.)

I'm grateful God was so patient with me for my 54 years with all the sins I have committed that offended and still offend His precious Name. But I sense, as do so many, that there's a darkness coming that only prayer and faith will get us through, and when hearts remain hardened, a violent shaking is going to have to happen to 'wake us up' and hopefully soften those hard hearts. Please check our Mark's BLOG for his posts on the coming storm.found at
www.markmallett.com
He surely understands what's coming for a nation or nations "hell bent" on promoting a culture of death.