November 15, 2023
Praying effectively for our national leaders takes some forethought.
One of the really important things to me in my life is that I have several very close friends and confidants. And that’s a gift to me. Those people, if something would happen to them, that would be an immense loss to me. Maybe the president has that already, but I’m praying that he would have close friends, including the community of faith.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife, noted author Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
David: Karen, neither of us has been a guest of the president to visit the White House.
Karen: No, he doesn’t call us up and ask for advice, does he?
David: That’s not been something. In fact, in my whole lifetime I have never personally met a president, have you?
Karen: No, I have never personally met a president. Not even in a line as they passed by shaking hands. Nothing like that. And I am thinking that our listeners who are listening to this podcast today, most of them are in the same situation. They’ve never met a president or shaken a president’s hand or had one call them on the phone.
David: I would like to say if we had ever done that, we would have told you about it. That would be a huge privilege. But we are instructed in Scripture to pray for the president.
David: … pray for those in authority. So that’s not just the chief executive, that’s the number of people.
Karen: And this raises a dilemma because how do you do that exactly? And that’s what we have been talking about with each other. And we’re going to share that conversation and the conclusions we’ve come to today in this podcast.
David: Yeah, I think that the impeachment talk has been a good thing because it has forced me in areas now to say, am I good at this? Am I a good person as far as a prayer supporter for those who are in authority? Okay, it sounds like it’s going to be a good discussion.
Here, I’m going to begin by reading those verses in Scripture that we talked about. This is 1st Timothy and they go by quickly. I think everybody’s heard these. Paul is writing, I urged them, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. So those are all prayers. Thanksgiving prayers, intercession, requests and so on. For kings and all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. So, it’s to our advantage if the time is peace because that’s good for the gospel it can spread. So, we pray for those who are in authority. I would say that I have faithfully said, God, you know, I’m concerned about the president. We pray for him. That’s been a part of my life for a long time. But I think those are rather immature prayers and I think I can do better.
So, of late and sparked by what’s happening in terms of the impeachment and such, I said, I’m really not that good a prayer as far as those in authority. So, help me with this. And that’s what we’re going to talk about.
Karen: I think there are two kinds of considerations here. You may have people in authority that you can’t stand or don’t agree with or whose political positions bug you to death, but you’re just supposed to pray for them. And then there are ones who we are in agreement with or who we admire or seem to be doing the things in government that we feel strongly about and so we prove of that person. So how do we first of all pray for the people we don’t like or don’t agree with or wish had never been elected to those positions? The scripture still applies to that, doesn’t it?
David: Of course!
Karen: And I think that a negative prayer toward them like God getting them out of office, removing them, however, is not what the apostle is thinking about. I think we are supposed to sustain them in our prayers. So, what would be some of the ways that we would pray for someone who we didn’t agree with or wish had never been elected to that position?
David: Well, this is, we’re very different. This is how David does it and I’m not talking theory. This is actually what I have done. I found that praying is always better when it’s specific. So, I began to write down what I would like for the president and this was going to become very practical because I’m in a prayer group on a regular basis. Everyone isn’t the same in their politics.
Karen: It’s a group of people who are from all over the nation, a small group. You have seven in your prayer group and you pray by phone every Wednesday.
David: So, I thought, well, we’ll try it out and see if I can make it. It was a wonderful time. It was a wonderful time. Okay, I’m just not trying to do these in order but just things I wrote down and this is very personal because I’ve never been a president and I’ve tried to say, okay, what would I want if I were president? Okay, don’t judge whether this is mature. This is just me moving into the process. Okay, I would like Daniel-like advisors.
David: Part of the reason I put that down is because I was reading from the book of Daniel and I realized what an important role he as a godly man played in the life of those who were in authority over him.
Karen: Who were not godly people, but they recognized, didn’t they? The value of having that kind of godly man as an advisor.
David: And the scriptures say he was dearly loved by those who were over him.
Karen: Yes, right!
David: So godly advisors who are bold enough to say you’re doing wrong.
Karen: Right. Or I would advise you to go in another direction and these are the reasons why.
David: Yeah, I’ve thought about our president that he’s living under incredible stress. I don’t know.
Karen: Dress as well because of the negativity in the culture. The culture is divided about it.
David: And this started me thinking differently. I said, Lord, he needs time to relax. And I found in terms of my own life when I hear that he’s playing golf again, I kind of think, oh man, that’s the rich and the privileged. But now I’ve come to the place where I’ve said, yeah, good, help him to be able to get away from the pressures. I think that’s good. Or whatever diversion he finds is beneficial to him. So, I put that on the list. if I were in his position, I would be concerned about my relationship as a husband and as a father. And so, I prayed for him in that regard. I found that there’s a tenor in me toward the president that wasn’t there before. So, you want me to go through the whole list?
Karen: Yeah, go ahead. Let me make a comment. I have a list, a prayer journal. I mean, I’ve kept prayer journals for 40 years and I’ll write down specifics as far as what I’m interceding for other people. But you use your pencil much more when you’re praying.
David: Yeah, I pray with a pencil.
Karen: You pray with a pencil and your lists are much more specific when you’re praying for thinking. I have a general prayer for the president sort of thing. So, there’s a differentiation there between the way you pray and the way I pray. Although we both keep, I mean, I have, like I said, journals of my prayers for 40 years of them that I’ve kept.
David: Yeah, and how other people pray as well. Because as I began to pray for some of these, I wasn’t reading a list. I was praying with the others. They interspersed their thoughts.
Karen: So, this is your going back to your phone team again.
David: Yes, and I remember one time as I was praying, we prayed for about 35-40 minutes together every week by phone. And one of the people laughing said, “Lord, give the president thick skin.” Give him a rhinoceros hide because I know when people criticize me, it really upsets me for the whole day and so on. So it became, it’s just like right now, we’re just talking.
David: And as I do pray with others, I write notes for myself.
Karen: Yeah, and as I’ve heard you talk about your prayer group, they’re from very different places, but they come from very different places politically. Some are for the president, others are not for the president, but your group hasn’t degenerated to that sort of conversation. And you do pray for the president together, even though you’re coming from very different places.
David: Specific prayers, yes. There’s a great sense of tolerance. It’s interesting to me because in our church, Karen, sometimes you go to church, and you’d never know that there was a political world. But in our church, to their good side, they pray every time we meet on Sunday and the prayers of the people for the president, they say we pray for our president, Donald, and we pray for our governor, JB, and then they go right on. And that’s good because it makes me aware, again, that the church understands that we’re in a world that’s not just what’s going on in the church. But again, I wish sometimes those prayers could go beyond just naming someone’s name. And that’s kind of what I’m saying, well, maybe I can start to do that in my own life a little bit more, and that’s why let’s be specific. I would say it’s a little bit risky because if four people drop out of the prayer group next week, I know we should have left that alone, but that’s not been the case at all. There’s a great sense of learning from one another.
Karen: As far as interceding for the president together in your phone time, that’s not the only thing you pray about.
David: Let me go back to the list.
Karen: Okay, to your list. This is your list.
David: Yeah, I’m praying for protection.
David: You and I have a really good prayer.
David: We’ve lived in a time when presidents have been shot.
David: You know, President Kennedy, I remember my feelings when I heard that he had been killed. That was a horrible time. President Reagan was shot. And there’s always the risk of someone, you know…
Karen: Particularly in this day and age.
David: Taking up residence and out-year.
Karen: I’m amazed that there haven’t been more attempts on his life. Yeah.
David: Yeah. This sounds like it’s a little bit the same. I pray for the president’s soul. You know, if we have a group, you and I and the president and maybe our neighbors, there’s a huge distinction between all of us and the president. But in God’s eyes, we’re all human beings. And he has a soul. He will give an account just like we will someday. This may bother some people. I don’t know. But I would hope that the president would be in heaven. You know, and that’s one of my prayers, Lord, that he is a human being. He will know the joys of an eternity with the Lord. Whether that prayer is going to be answered or not, we’ll leave that alone. I don’t know how people are responding to what’s being said, but I do pray for his soul. I pray also that he would have protection from the evil one. I think Satan is real. And I know what it’s like to be under the attack of Satan. I don’t want that for him. I pray that and I pray it in all sincerity. I would pray that he would resolve and have the courage to do the right thing.
David: I’m just being very careful of my words because I know these are tricky things for people to talk about and to hear others talk about. But I would want him to have this deep conviction, because it’s very satisfying to me when I feel this, that I know what God wants done and I will do it come hell or high water. You know, I’m going to be faithful to you, God. And whether the president is that way or not, I’m not saying. I’m just saying that’s what I’m praying for him.
I think this probably is more as I thought about our specific president, because I think this is important to him. I would pray that he would have a positive legacy. That people would look back in years to come and say, this was a good thing about the president.
Karen: It was accomplished under his time in the office.
David: One of the really important things to me in my life is that I have several very close friends and confidants. And that’s a gift to me. Those people, if something would happen to them, that would be an immense loss to me. Maybe the president has that already, but I’m praying that he would have close friends, including the community of faith. Because I’m not in a position wherever I go somewhere, the Secret Services, they have to clear everything out, make sure they’re on bombs and all that. So he can’t just decide that I’ll go to church tonight and I’ll talk with the people that I enjoy. That’s a privilege you and I have.
And that’s very important to us. But somehow, I would pray that he would have a community of faith and that he would have close friends. That he feels, you know, this is someone I really trust.
Karen: I think that’s a really important prayer for people who have money, the few that we know. Very often they don’t know if people want to be their friends because of who they are or because they have money. And I think the same thing happens with people who are in power. They don’t know who is their friend because of who they are, just because of a certain bond or love between the two individuals or if it’s because they’re in power and those people want to shimmy up to power. So, I do think it’s a really good prayer to pray for this president, particularly because he’s in both camps. He’s a wealthy man as well as one who is at the pinnacle of power in our nation.
David: This one, I have an example. These are all disconnected. I’m aware they’re disconnected, but there are notes that I’m writing down that help me as I pray. And I don’t pray about all these every time. That becomes, it moves over to the repetitive type of thing. And I don’t want that. But these are thoughts. I would pray for the president that he would have a long and fruitful life. And as I say that, the reason I wrote it down was I was thinking of former president Jimmy Carter.
David: What a remarkable…
Karen: He has leveraged his post presidency as well as anyone we know of. I mean, it’s been an example. And you never get any bad press about him, even as he’s aging. This is just an incredible man, the couple. Both of them have been extraordinary in their example, living simply, contributing to the community, overseas, heading up the systems that look for fraud and voting.
David: He’s amazing.
Karen: Absolutely amazing. So yes, that would be a wonderful prayer for someone.
David: These are things that I’m saying, what do I want in my life? And then I said, is this something that I could pray on behalf of the president? One of the things that was good for me, I didn’t have this for a long time, was when I learned to have a teachable spirit that I don’t know everything.
Karen: When did that stop?
David: I think with age.
Karen: Yes, I think that’s really when it…
David: You come to the place where you say, I can still learn. There are still people who have more smarts than I have.
Karen: Well, it’s not even that. It’s seeking them out and intentionally and deliberately learning from them. We had a wonderful conversation in our home the other night with a gal who works with trauma and her comment that she made wasn’t you know the statistics show that 90% of people have had trauma and they’re like we have never ever thought about having that discussion. We talked about it for two days.
David: Well, it unlocks some puzzles in my mind.
David: …about ourselves
Karen: …ourselves. Yeah,
David: How trauma affected us.
Karen: Yes, right
David: …shut us down.
Karen: Yeah, shut us down. So, we can learn and we need to be learnable and teachable. But I do think when you reach a certain age you begin to say, “You know what? I don’t know everything, do I? ”
David: I could go on. Am I becoming boring?
Karen: David, I think this is an extraordinary list. Thank you for taking the time to go through this.
David: What I’m going to do next, and I can’t even start to talk about it because I haven’t begun the process. But I’m going to learn how to be a good prayer on behalf of the media.
Karen: Okay. Wow. What does that mean?
David: Well, it means the same thing. I think they have authority in many ways. They are voices that speak to us…
Karen: … in the mouth pieces through which opinion is expressed over and over and over…
David: … whether it’s print media or whether it’s television, whatever. These are people who are in extraordinary positions of power and influence and yet there’s an opportunity to misuse those.
David: …and so how do I pray for them? I think that specifically. So, I’m still talking ahead. I haven’t done this. Specifically, I need to target those people who I respect highly. Who are in that world, because they have their own, they have their own temptations. They have their own pressures and all the rest. And I can’t pray for all of them. It’s kind of nice when you say pray for the president because there’s only one president. But on top of that, that doesn’t, I mean we have to pray for the vice president. We have to pray for our specific senators. I think we have to go and then the people in the House of Representatives. The governors and so on. I haven’t started to pray for the governor and there’s a certain point where you shut it off because you say this is too much. And I can only say “Lord, like the church we pray for our governor JB. JB Pritzker out of there. We really sound quite familiar in our church. We pray for Donald, the president.” And that’s just the form that is followed. I believe that It’s a whole world of prayer That I haven’t entered into as much as I would like to. I think as an older individual I can take my turn at this now like other older generations have, those who have more time, they have more experience, there’s a certain wisdom.
Karen: Well, and I think you’re building a discipline that you’ve already developed in your life as far as a prayer discipline is concerned. So, you’re not starting at base one saying, “I don’t really know how to do this.” I don’t have, you know, decades of prayer behind me of having developed this proficiency of making it a focus, not forgetting to pray, of developing a prayer journal, whatever it is, whatever the techniques and tools are that you’ve developed through the decades. So, I’m interested, it’ll be interesting to know when we reach heavenly shores, to use old terminology, just how much the prayers of the elders set kept not only a country alive and Christianity moving forward, but preserved the world in ways that we didn’t have any idea was doing.
David: You’ve said to me, so I will pull it back again. It’s not my thought, but what happened in Russia?
Karen: Oh yeah, well, after the Communist takeover, Soviet Union moved into communism in 1917 and the Babushkas were the older women who wore Babushkas. In fact, I just read something about it the other day, just saying if they could just get have gotten rid of the Babushkas, but they were faithful in their prayers and had been credited by historians who are savvy about that kind of disposition, the praying disposition, to having kept the faith alive in Russia, though it came under extraordinary persecution during those days. I mean, the Russian Church has really suffered. Their leaders were put in jail and many of them died. Yeah, killed. But it was the Babushkas, the praying women, mostly older women, the grandmothers who kept praying, kept faithful, kept tending to church, who kept the faith alive and really were by those kinds of analysts were credited with the fall of the of the Communist Party that when Russia finally split up, the Soviet Union split up.
David: I’m finding as I’m praying more specifically for the president in our country, that it’s making me very careful of my words, just in general conversation. I was too flipped to things that I said. So, it’s giving me an awareness that I represent a whole force, which is the godly force. And this is the force that needs to begin to…
Karen: … activated.
David: That’s what I was looking for – activate itself. Now, I feel that very strongly. It’s not an obligation, but this is our privilege now to come in.
Karen: So, one of the things that we work for in communication media, I would say that we have become communication specialists through the years. Podcasting is new to us. It is different from broadcasting. It’s to say to those people who are listening to us now, what are you going to do about this? And are you praying for the president in a way that is healthy, wholesome, and holy? And if you are not, then you should be. Scripture tells us we should be. You can be part of this cadre that begins to undergird and under-support our political systems in a way that will turn those systems toward righteousness. And you may not see the results right away, maybe years, but that’s how you begin to activate prayer power in a national sense. And so, we’re asking people to do the same sort of self-evaluation. Are you praying for our leaders? Are you praying for our president? Are you just complaining about him or just making jokes about him? That is not godliness. As much as we probably have been guilty of that ourselves, we confess to you that we do not want to be those kinds of people. And that in the prayers for the president or people in authority, our hearts get changed by the Holy Spirit to kind of a tender, much more tender approach. So we’re saying to the listeners, what are you going to do about it?
David: And we’re not saying it with a pointed finger like a minister saying, you sinner, something. We’re saying that looking at ourselves first and then trying to say, this is helpful.
Karen: Where we have failed. And we’re not going to be failures in this area anymore. So, we’re asking for our listeners to join us, to jump on this team. But you’re going to have to go through this sort of self-evaluation. And the way you do it is by saying to the Holy Spirit, show me where I am in error. Then you listen quietly and inevitably that still small voice will start nudging and pushing and won’t let you wake up in the middle of the night thinking, oh, I didn’t pray today. You know, I can pray now I’m awake. But that’s a nudge of the Holy Spirit.
And the Holy Spirit begins to push you toward what the right thing to do is. So, we’re asking you to start. Now some of our listeners may be way beyond us in this discipline. So, we want to honor them and say, if you have things you want to share, you know, you can get in touch with us and let us know what tools you’ve used that have helped you to be more effective in this area. But we’re not doing this just because David and Karen Mains are talking about it. We want to call out that cadre of folk who have burning hearts that the Holy Spirit is inspired to become part of a team nationally that begins to undergird our president, our government, and our nation with intercessory prayers that will lead us to righteousness. And as you read that scripture to peace, what they began to create a peace in our nation helped to heal the discourse, the divided discourse that we’re in right now in our nation.
David: Yeah, well said. Well said.
Outgo: You’ve been listening to the Before We Go podcast. If you enjoyed this podcast please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2019 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60189.
Get a copy of David Mains’ The Remarkable Revelation – Sermon Series.
November 08, 2023
November 01, 2023
October 25, 2023