Praying for Barack Obama: why and how

Kim Hampton replied to my last post, writing:

It’s funny that you’re writing about this today. I’ve been thinking about fear for the past week or so (especially since Barack won in Iowa). I’ve worried the whole time that Barack has been in the race that he would get shot.

Yes, I’ve been harboring a fear about an assassination attempt against Sen. Obama. I’ve seen writing to that effect elsewhere, and it would be too easy to do given the way campaigns and crowds come together. And the historical record hasn’t been kind for Democratic presidential candidates, black political figures and Illinois senators with an eye on the White House.

Without getting deep into a theology of prayer, it seems reasonable for a group of people to pray for Sen. Obama’s health and welfare, and for God to bless him with wisdom and insight. In the same way, it seems out of bounds to pray for political victory. The first is a request; the second is an implied demand. The first can be asked for anyone; the second is particular and excludes others. The first seems like a reasonable petition of faithful people; the second smacks of hubris.

Yes, I want him to be president but not willing to sacrifice my values to see it happen. Please pray for Barack Obama’s health and welfare.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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