Praying for Presidents

On Christmas morning, as my two teenagers began to open a shared present, I told them that the gift needed several caveats.

“First,” I said, “remember that we believe in the work of peace more than the work of war.”

“Second, world domination is a terrible business; remember that the manifestations of colonialism continue to impact and undermine peoples around the world.”

“And third,” I admittedly sheepishly, “I’ve played this game since I was a kid, but I can never manage the strategy to win it.”

With a synchronized roll of their eyes, my son and daughter finished opening the present: the board game Risk, which challenges players to conquer the world region by region. Risk posits each player as a conqueror, a global leader of sorts—or at least, a global contender.

And in the contentious world of global leadership, not only in a board game but in real life, might often rules the day. Might of military. Might of voice. Might of money. Might of influence. Might of ego.

Which is why we pray—with renewed discipline in this new year—for our worldly rulers to be guided by righteousness more than mightiness. To defend the cause of the poor more than the cause of the rich. To strive for peace in such a way that all people will have enough.

We pray for rulers and royalty, for presidents and parliaments, that those in leadership might love the work of peace more than the work of war.

on Psalm 72, written for the Stillspeaking Daily Devotional



Remember the dusty Holiness of humanity that has no need to accumulate treasures.


Remember the simplicity of Peace that welcomes grace and returns the same tenfold.


Remember the certainty of the Wilderness and patiently walk with someone there.


Remember the possibilities on the very edge of Mystery that allude to a new day.


Remember the relentlessness of Joy that wonders at love and marvels at life.

on Psalm 22:27a and Mark 8:35

Not Isaiah 11

Dear Jesus, the wolf has no interest in resting quietly alongside the lamb — only raping her. The leopard is restless to devour the kid for the sake of a profit. Who will reprimand the lion’s violent ways, who will declaw its instincts and teach it to follow the calf peaceably? When will Leviathan no longer threaten every creature within its shared habitat? When will the snake no longer spill blood to pollute the dwelling of the mouse? Will the piranha never stop consuming others’ livelihoods and territories? Will no one stop the braying ass from broadcasting its hatred? And the child — God have mercy, the child! — is continuously hunted by snipers as if the child were an army. Send your Spirit swiftly, merciful Jesus, to decide for the meek and curtail the merciless, to embolden equity and stifle abuse, to speak life to peace and death to evil.


Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry,
rest and dream of what may be.
When you wake a song shall fly
of God’s good work to set us free:

From fear and fray
to joy’s display,
ne’er overwhelmed by evil’s forces.

From mine to yours
restitution outpours
undeterred along heaven’s courses.

Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry,
claim God’s name with jubilee.
Take your ache to Holy Salve
and love in Heavn’s fierce company.