Litany for 45

I was at an event recently in which someone asked the speaker, who happened to be Michael Wear, this question: What we should pray for 45?  I thought what a good question it was, and resolved to try to answer it.

For my friends who love Trump, this will perhaps be easy for you to pray, and a good reminder to do so. But for my friends for whom Mr. Trump presents a fair degree of stress and difficulty, I hear that, and I'll say this: you don’t have to like him to pray this prayer.

In fact, praying this prayer (or one like it) is in itself an act of hopeful resistance. It is for some of us a tangible living-out of Jesus command in the Sermon on the Mount "love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you." It is a step toward embodying Jesus' best and most subversive ideas. It is moving in the direction of flooding the world with forgiveness.

Extra bonus points for praying this alongside someone with whom you disagree.

It may feel like sandpaper on your skin or sound like nails on a chalkboard at first. Sometimes the Good News does that. But I think it's a path to peace.




God, as you have made yourself known to men and women, over countless generations all over the world
So, make yourself known to Donald Trump.
As you have inspired good works, loving actions, peacemaking, and depth of feeling and thought in the hearts of humans,
So inspire Mr. Trump.

We ask for your merciful guidance on the 45th President of the United States.
Be to him a light.
Set his feet on the path of peace,
And his mind on selfless love.
Give to him a wide perspective and listening ears,
That he may seek the good of all whom he governs.

Instill in him a strong desire to do justly,
A love for mercy,
Humility,
Discernment,
Curiosity,
Willingness to learn,
Strength of character,
And wisdom from heaven.

Surround him even now with wise women and men of depth, character, experience,
And above all, of unflinching honesty and integrity.
Strengthen him even now with energy and zeal for doing good, robust heart,
And willingness to endure sacrifice for others.
Let the leader of this nation abound in compassion and integrity,
And all the people of the nation prosper under just government.

Where he is weak
Make your power apparent.
Where he is needy,
Provide for him.
Where he is vulnerable,
Protect him.
In the depths of his soul,
May he be filled with your love.

Amen


 

Litany for Government

God, we seek your wisdom for how to live today, in this time and place.
We ask help from you
To remember that we are citizens of heaven first and foremost. (1)
Help us, oh God,
To live with integrity and fidelity to Christ even while under human government.
Help us, oh God,
To practice peace and resurrection in our every action. (2)
Help us, oh God,
To exercise our rights and privileges on behalf of the vulnerable.
We need the mind of Christ.

We pray for those human leaders in authority
That they may do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly; (3)
That they may overcome self-interest with self-sacrifice;
That they may listen to the voices of the people they serve;
That they may have vision for good for all, beyond partisan goals and nationalism;
That they may resist temptation to wield their power for personal gain;
That they may resist tyranny, totalitarianism, and autocracy within their ranks;
That they may speak truth, and uphold it; (4)
That they may hold fast to laws which foster justice, and root out those that discriminate against the weak.
That they may seek peace and pursue it;(4)
That they may work for equality and benefit for all races, all genders, all religious and cultural expressions;
That they may champion the beauty of humanity from cradle to grave;
That they may regard kindness and cooperation as strengths;
That they may lead with humility, morality, compassion, and creativity.

Let everything that is hidden come to light -
The light that is Christ. (5)
And let all people live in the authority of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Under the law of Love.

Amen

 

  1. Philippians 3:20

  2. “Practice resurrection” is a line in Wendell Berry’s famous poem “The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”

  3. Micah 6:8

  4. Psalm 34:14

  5. John 8:12

 

Litany for Rebuke

Edit: Saturday morning 7/9/16: This litany was written on Thursday before the shooting in Dallas Thursday night. I was feeling angry and grieved when I wrote it. More bad things have happened since then. I still feel angry and grieved and confused and baffled and sad, and more aware than ever of ways that I AM THE PERSON I'M REBUKING. I am complicit. I can change in ways I haven't yet perceived are necessary for me to change. By simple apathy and laziness, I have been an enemy of peace. I need rebuke and correction. I need a fresh dose of perspective and compassion and grace and love. I am still mad at those cops who killed Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile and all the others who have been unjustly put to death. I am still mad at the shooter who killed 5 police officers in Dallas. I'm mad and I want things to change and I want to change. So I pray the traditional orthodox Jesus Prayer:
 


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

 

You who are enemies of peace;
We rebuke you.
You who are wolves in sheep's clothing;
We rebuke you.
You who govern masses and only consider the interests of a few;
We rebuke you.
You who pay lip service to justice but do evil;
We rebuke you.
You who kill without thinking and have no regard for human life;
We rebuke you.
You who are enslaved to fear of a certain type of person;
We rebuke you.
You who allow evil and corruption and ignore what is right;
We rebuke you.
You who have no language but violence;
We rebuke you.
You who worship money and power over others;
We rebuke you.
You who perpetuate injustice;
We rebuke you.
You who have decided that the white, the straight, the affluent; are more deserving of life than the black, the gay, the poor;
We rebuke you.
You who shed innocent blood;
We rebuke you.
You who choose to remain enemies even while we offer peace;
We rebuke you.

We are all brought to shame by your actions.
We are all brought to grief by your violence.
We are all brought to rage by your power over our society.
We are all brought to repentance by your misdeeds.

We refuse to swallow your lies.
We refuse to bend to your way of violence and power-hunger.
We refuse to be blinded by your distorted version of prosperity.
We refuse to allow violence and fear to found false peace.

We offer you forgiveness and reconciliation.
We offer you a place at our table, generosity instead of greed.
We offer you one cheek, then another.
We offer you our cloaks, and shelter from the storm.
We offer you loaves and fishes, though you’ve given us a snake.
We offer you the Way of Love, an antidote to hatred.
We offer you the Way of Peace, an antidote to violence.
We offer you the body and blood of Christ, who is able to heal your disease.

Come now, Christ, in your mercy and in your peace, in the dazzling beauty of your love, in the creativity of your re-imagining this world, in the justice of your Kingdom.
Amen