Eugene Cho

pray for president obama?

I’m not trying to sound political or overly spiritual but today, I just had the most sudden “impression” that I can only describe as a prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray for President Barack Obama.

If you’ve been reading my blog,

I care about politics because it engages policies that affect people – but I try not to be political.

I am a staunch independent when it comes to political parties

and urge Christians to not be played, swayed, and seduced by the powers to be.

And while I know that there are many that are fanatical over Obama, I have a tempered optimism for his leadership.

What is “tempered optimism?”

I want him to do well because this country and the larger world is in need of compelling and inspiring leadership.

And I should confess that with the exception of a brief and emotional prayer I lifted up for him the day of his inauguration (I was in Germany then), I hadn’t said a prayer for him since then.

But today, I just felt the need to pray for him. The “impression” felt so strong that I thought I’d share it and encourage you to be mindful and prayerful for him as well. Whether you like him or not, he and the larger administration are enduring some incredibly difficult challenges…

But it also opens up some questions for me:

  • Do you ever pray for government leaders?
  • Are you personally praying for President Obama at all?
  • Mindful of the danger of elevating the Empire, should Christians  even pray for their leaders? Is this what 1 Timothy 2:q14 meant?
  • Another good question: How do you pray for President Obama?

What do you think?


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26 Responses

  1. gar says:

    Interesting thoughts, Pastor E.

    We live in troubled times, so I think it’s only natural to pray for our leaders in the government, including President Obama. I grew up in household where current events were discussed a lot and my parents prayed for our leaders.

    Personally, I think I’ve been praying for Barack Obama semi-regularly since he announced his candidacy for president because:

    1) Left-leaning political leaders like MLK, Malcolm X, JFK Jr., Robert Kennedy, etc. have had their lives taken forcefully from them by fanatics. I pray for the safety of the President and his family from similar circumstances.

    2) Wisdom, wisdom, wisdom. As the elected leader of our country, he makes a lot of decisions that affect not only the US, but the rest of the world. We live in troubled times, and I think it’s obvious that everybody could use more of God’s wisdom is resolving all of the problems around us…

  2. dmbaldwin says:

    Thank you for bringing this up, and for sharing something this important that the Holy Spirit has put on your heart. Our small group prays for President Obama regularly. Since my political views don’t match his, I’m not always praying that his agenda would succeed, but we all want the world to be at peace. We all want the oil spill in the gulf to stop. Asking for wisdom for our President and protection as Gar mentions above is always important. An yes, I do believe God wants us to pray for our political leaders as well as our spiritual ones.

  3. Rev. Dave says:

    What a novel idea! It seems far too many Christians are praying AGAINST President Obama instead of upholding our leaders in prayer.

  4. marcus@theminorkey says:

    My prayers, as politics are concerned, aren’t that different from my prayers for the homeless, my family members, my school, church, etc. I pray for God to enter in, gather, and direct the lives of all who lead. I choose this way because it keeps me from giving too much over to institutions. God will bring peace when men accept him. God will bring stability when men treat each other as God treats them. I also don’t want my prayers to sound like a “Dear Santa” list. I want certain things, but I don’t know that what I want is always what God want’s so I try and keep it a little general when I can.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho and others. Eugene Cho said: I encourage you to pray for President Obama. – […]

  6. Joe says:

    Eugene this is a trip. Sadly, I rarely pray for our govt leaders and Obama. About two days ago in the car I suddenly felt the urge to pray for Obama. Especially for him to have the courage to lead with integrity and to do what he knows must be done. And I felt a compassion for him like I never have before. Thanks for posting your thoughts, feelings, and impressions bro!

  7. Danny says:

    Great post. I greatly appreciate the concept of tempered optimism. 🙂

  8. I suppose I was just dismayed by the extent to which America Christians seemed to “turn on a dime” as soon as Bush went and Obama came along. I don’t think we should necessarily pray for national leaders, but in praying for the political situation, its inevitable that they should get a look in. Policy before Party!

  9. jchenwa says:

    Maybe we can pray that the President does things in a godly way, following the Way, so our country may be blessed by the LORD. Just my 3 cents.

  10. pastoralan says:

    I don’t pray for the President like I should. I do pray for him. I decided I would not have the same attitude toward him that I had with President Clinton, which was all anti and politically motivated.

    I gave the President a year to work. He did very little in the area he could have had a huge impact in: unity of our nation. He failed to bring the unity he promised. He could have been a huge player for race relations. Instead, he moved into the political game and started playing.

    For someone who gave Bush a tongue lashing on Katrina, he’s now faced with his own disaster in the Gulf region. We have never been more anti family than we are now (transgender and bi-sexual? It used to be just homosexual; the White House website even promotes it. Homosexuality is equated to civil rights now. And Christians sit by and say nothing).

    We should pray for the President 1) because scripture tells us to and 2) he is a man with a family and big responsibilities.

    I think your optimism is a little …. something. I hope you’re right. But if we didn’t see it in year one, I think you may be overreaching with hope in this situation.

    And hey, scripture says it gets worse, not better in the end 🙂

    Interesting post. And we all (who are not praying for President Obama) should repent and start praying. I’m at the top of that list.

  11. Zoe Brain says:

    At the Transgender Day of Remembrance last year, I read out the names of the 132 Trans people known to have been slain, not for anything they’d done, but what they were.

    Here’s one metric, in use by at least one Catholic Homeless Youth Shelter.

    First Class : Straight, cis-sexual. Gets to sleep in a bed, and can be open about their sexuality.

    Second Class : Gay, cis-sexual. Gets to sleep in a bed, but must be closeted.

    Third Class : Trans-sexual. Must sleep on the floor. Not permitted to use the usual shower facilities.

    Fourth Class : Intersexed. Expelled. There’s no room at the Inn.

    If we’re lucky, Christians do nothing. If not, they use knives, guns, torches, hacksaws, and sledgehammers.

    Of course, that’s unfair. I know many Christians – the genuine variety – who act as He did. All too many though do not.

    I’m a big girl, I can look after myself. But my son is 8 years old, and Intersexed too. I’m finding increasingly difficult seeing that he gets a Christian education when so much hatred is being preached.

  12. pastoralan says:


    I’m assuming your respond to my response. I’m of “the genuine variety” Christian. I’ve got no real problem with people who choose to be gay or anything else. It’s their choice and I can’t stop them.

    My only problem might be if my 9 year old daughter (who is biracial and I’m Anglo) was taught it was right or normal behavior.

    I often wonder how I will reasonably explain to her how being gay is the same as the civil rights Rosa Parks suffer to get?

    I hope you get the education you want. It will help.

    Can you tell me what “intersexed” means?

  13. marcus@theminorkey says:

    It would be hard to explain to your daughter why being gay is the same as being black/colored because – they are not. The two FEEL the same socially and politically in terms of exclusion and the attack on a person’s being. However, they are fundamentally different realities. Yes, they are inter structured, but still very different. It might work better to consult some people who deal with one and/or both stigmas before trying to enter into a discussion (forgive me if you’ve already done this. I don’t mean to disrespect, assume or present myself as an authority on either matter). It just doesn’t sound like you’ve lived either reality, so please don’t assume you can just lump both together and explain them.

    • Marcus,

      It’s all good brother.

      I served as the Executive Pastor (2nd Chair Leader under the Senior Pastor) in an all black church. I’ve also served in 2 other black churches. I’ve been immersed in black culture and know it at least more than 99% of anglos. I’ve experienced it to the extent of racial animosity from Anglos.

      I’m really not worrying about my daughter. She will know truth from His word. What I was implying 🙂 is that it is indeed wrong to put race and homosexuality in the same game.

  14. Zoe Brain says:

    Pastoralan – Intersexed means born with a body neither 100% male nor 100% female.

    It very obviously is not a choice – though some Intersex conditions aren’t obvious at all, except to subtle laboratory tests, of internal anatomy, or chromosomes.

    98.4% of people are unquestionably male in all respects, or unquestionably female in all respects. Most of the rest of the 1.6% don’t realise they’re not though they may have medical issues, or be unable to have children.

    Others though are very obviously non-standard, even with their clothes on.

    As regards homosexuality, transsexuality, intersexuality, and choice, here’s one of the best summaries of biological realities, as evidenced by autopsies, MRI scans etc. It’s from “Sexual Hormones and the Brain: An Essential Alliance for Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation” Garcia-Falgueras A, Swaab DF Endocr Dev. 2010;17:22-35

    “The fetal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hormone surge. In this way, our gender identity (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and sexual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. However, since sexual differentiation of the genitals takes place in the first two months of pregnancy and sexual differentiation of the brain starts in the second half of pregnancy, these two processes can be influenced independently, which may result in extreme cases in trans-sexuality. This also means that in the event of ambiguous sex at birth, the degree of masculinization of the genitals may not reflect the degree of masculinization of the brain. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation.”

    Sexual orientation doesn’t correspond to sexual behaviour though. Otherwise all those who are celibate virgins could be neither gay nor straight.

    Add Intersex into the mix – where in some jurisdictions a person is considered legally male, in other places legally female – and you get further complications, both legal and theological.

    “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Texas, is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Texas, and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.” – Littleton vs Prange court transcript

  15. Linda says:

    Praying for President Obama’s salvation.

  16. Maia says:

    Great post. So many times I pray for people I think are in need and forget to include the people I feel are smart, capable and have it (for the most part) all together. This goes for Obama and I guess pastors, professors, colleagues I admire…

    Since I haven’t felt the urge to pray for these ppl I should probably start by trying to listen more to the Holy Spirit. Ouch.

  17. Yolanda says:

    I have the same sense that our President needs our prayers; he has so much weight on his shoulders.
    I do not have to agree with his policies to pray for him.
    How else will he receive direction from the Holy Spirit unless we cover him in prayer?

    Thanks for reminding us of our Biblical duty.

  18. Bonnie Bulfer says:

    I pray every day for President Obama. He was elected and while he is in office I want to hold him in the light of my prayers. I pray for his family, for his wisdom and for decisions that help and consider all Americans. I pray for Congress & the Supreme Court.
    Having said that, I know all Presidents make decisions I will not agree with. But I know God is influencing them to be all they were created to be. I truly feel that we cannot be too negative about everything going on in our country. I try daily to focus on the greatness of our Constitution, on our land, and our freedoms.
    My daily prayers help me to remain sane in a time when things seem to get a bit insane.

  19. […] When I received this invitation, it was a no-brainer. Lately, I’ve been really burdened to pray – to pray for my city, this country, our leadership, and the affairs of the larger world. A few months ago, I shared with you this deep spiritual sense of wanting and really, needing, to pray for President Obama. […]

  20. […] When I received this invitation, it was a no-brainer. Lately, I’ve been really burdened to pray — to pray for my city, this country, our leadership, and the affairs of the larger world. A few months ago, I shared with you this deep spiritual sense of wanting and really, needing, to pray for President Obama. […]

  21. […] When I received this invitation, it was a no-brainer. Lately, I’ve been really burdened to pray – to pray for my city, this country, our leadership, and the affairs of the larger world. A few months ago, I shared with you this deep spiritual sense of wanting and really, needing, to pray for President Obama. […]

  22. […] As a staunch independent voter, I have no deep affection for any political affiliations but I’ve committed personally to pray for our civic leaders. […]

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One Day’s Wages

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the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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