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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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