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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People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother.

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