He Even Answers The Silly Prayers

This is a long story – but I have done my best to condense.

Every January, I get to produce a very large event in New York City.  This past year, about six weeks before the event, I was told that President Barack Obama had been invited to speak and that it was a distinct possibility he would accept the invitation.

So for several weeks, as we prepared for the event, I prayed and daydreamed about what I would say if I was granted 5 seconds, or 30 seconds, with arguably the most influential man in the world.

As the event neared, and the door remained open for him to come, my excitement rose, but with 48 hours remaining before the event, we were informed that he could not attend.

So fast forward to this week… I was catching a flight to DC for another event.  Because of an error in booking, I had to take a connecting flight out of Atlanta and was massively delayed because of a freak thunderstorm.  It was very frustrating, but during that delay, I got to know the person in the seat next to me.

She was a beautiful woman in her early 30s, very polished and polite, who had jumped on my plane in a last-ditch attempt to reach DC that night.  We talked about faith (she was reading a Christian book), and laughed at our shared entrapment in a tin can during a violent storm.  About 2 hours into our delay, when we had established a great rapport, I asked her what she did for a living.  She already had asked about me and knew I was from Dallas and that my husband was in ministry.  To answer my question, she very sheepishly told me she worked for the President’s Administration.

I smiled to encourage her and told her that I pray for our President and how proud I am of what they are doing to serve our country.  She seemed relieved and said she was very thankful to hear I supported them in prayer.

She opened up and told me about how she got the job, about prayer meetings they hold to pray for the President and Mrs. Obama, about the difficulty and excitement of the job.  It was amazing to hear her heart for serving our country and how she came to work there.

I told her about my thwarted possibility of meeting the President in January and laughed about how I had prayed about what I would say given the chance.

She asked me what I came up with.  I told her I had decided I would tell him I was proud he was our President, and that I loved his family, and that as a Believer in Christ I was praying for him.

She told me that she was good friends with the leader of the President’s Faith-Based Initiative and that she wanted to tell him that she had met a Christian from Dallas who supported them and prayed for them.  She then asked me if there was any advice I could give them to reach more people like me.

I almost teared up – what a question!  I told her that my personal issue – my heartbeat – is for the orphan.  About how God is moving people across the church to adopt and care for the orphan in a mighty movement to be Jesus to an entire generation of children who deserve all the love in the world.  I told her how the Adoption Tax Credit was a huge benefit to people like us wanting to reach out, and that I feared in all of these budget cuts that the credit would be allowed to expire, or be reduced or even cut out altogether.  I told her that in my personal opinion,  if they could advocate for that, working with church leaders, that together we could partner to care for “the least of these” and Christians would be able to be Jesus to thousands of kids.

She nodded and very seriously told me she would pass that idea on.  As we neared DC, I told her how glad I was to meet her and how I enjoyed talking to her.  I committed to pray for her and she sincerely thanked me.  The Lord really allowed us to connect and I felt like I was leaving a friend.

That night, as I reached my hotel room, I continued to think about my time with her.  I Googled her name and found out, to my great surprise, that she is a VERY senior staff member in the Commerce Department.  There are articles written about her  all over the internet.  I was not just chatting up an intern – as I assumed.  I was allowed, I believe by God, almost 6 hours to express my heart to a leader in our nation and a person very close to our President.

That night I laughed as I began to pray.  I have so little faith and the Lord continuously surprises me.  I had prayed for 5 or 30 seconds with the President, where I’d be nervous and watched by Secret Service, and instead He gave me six hours with a senior member of the President’s staff, where I was totally relaxed and unaware, during a crazy thunderstorm that had trapped us both on the same plane.

I got to advocate for the orphan, and I hope I was able to represent Christ well.

I know many of you disagree with our President, as do I on some major issues.  And I know many of you, given the chance, would have said something very different.  But I am so grateful for the chance I got to speak my heart to my friend.  I believe it was an answer to prayer, and I pray the Lord would use it for His great glory.

9 Comments

  1. Jen…I absolutely love this post…I am in awe with the opportunity the Lord laid out for you…and am so curious where your words will lead and who will hear them. Always proud to be your friend, even more so after reading this. I love your heart for the Lord, and for the orphans and widows. You are such a light. Love you!

    Reply

    1. I love you too! Thank you for leaving me a comment – it means the world to me! I am excited too. I pray that somehow somewhere it would make a difference – I know it has encouraged me that I am not forgotten. He is good and you are a gift from Him too.

      Reply

  2. Wow… You managed to fit both politics AND religion into the same post.

    Such a conflicting topic for me… Bottom line is, though, that we are commanded to pray for our leaders, and I haven’t been doing that (I’m not sure I prayed for previous ones either). Maybe God would change my heart, or at least give me wisdom, if I did pray for Obama. So I’ll give it a go.

    But it might be wise to avoid this topic altogether at our next family get-together. 😉
    Love you.

    Reply

    1. Hilarious – I just wanted to cover the two big topics at once. 🙂

      Here’s my safety net – prayer is safe, you know? (Or at least it should be). Praying for someone does not necessarily imply either approval of all they are doing, nor disapproval (i.e. imprecatory prayers like “Lord, judge so-and-so”). In this case, I truly pray for the members of the administration and the President himself because he is our leader and he needs our prayers (more than anyone because of the simple fact he is doing that job).

      I also pray because the Bible is clear that the leader of a country is a big deal and directs the country, and because we are commanded to fear God and honor the King in 1 Peter 2. So I was trying to do that on the plane. Give honor and shine righteousness – to the best of my ability. (Lightning did strike the jetbridge right by our aircraft, though, and I may or may not have slipped and said a bad word when we all jumped and screamed – so there’s that). 🙂

      As for our family – if you still love me I figure they’ll still love me.

      Reply

  3. THANK YOU for bringing up the tax credit, so many families are counting on it. Thankfully as long as Hillary Clinton is in office I firmly believe the tax credit will uphold (seeing as her husbands administration is the one who passed it initially). I think giving grace to an individual who probably experiences very little from certain parts of the Christian community is exactly how God intended for you to answer her. After all when it comes down to it we know who truly has the last say for our nation, PTL!

    Love ya girl!
    hj

    Reply

    1. You are right on – the Lord is totally in control of all of it. And thank you for saying that was grace – I felt like it was and wanted it to be, and think that was why she responded so positively. As for the ATC – I hope it is around FOREVER. The expenses are so crazy and the credit helps families like ours consider it even while in ministry – which I am so grateful for. Love you guys too! J

      Reply

  4. “giving grace to an individual who probably experiences very little from certain parts of the Christian community is exactly how God intended for you to answer her. After all when it comes down to it we know who truly has the last say for our nation, PTL!”


    Wow! Amen to that, HJans! I totally agree with you — Jen’s being a person of grace (“gracious”) and sharing from her heart without doing the (unfortunately all-too) “normal” angry-Christian thing probably communicated more, and on a much deeper level with Jen’s fellow passenger than (for example) had Jen started marching around DC (or Dallas;-)) with a placard stating all the things she *dis*liked about the administration. We DO know Who is Sovereign — and (surprise!) it isn’t even the voters or those who let “chads” hang or drop off! And how COOL is it that God served up an answer to Jen’s prayers & thoughts “above & beyond”! Who is a god like our God — or even “close”?

    p.s. (sorry so long) If more of us prayed for our leaders (and no, not the imprecatory-type prayers), I wonder how God would answer! Wonder what outrageously powerful works He would do in their lives, in their families, in their decision-makings…

    Reply

    1. Ok so we need to be friends – but I don’t even know what to call you or who you are! I subscribed to your blog and am excited to join with another person who is as passionate about this idea as I am. Thank you for commenting – you can comment as long as you want anytime on my blog – I’m honored!

      Reply

  5. Call me “Grace”;-) (my real name actually does mean “grace” — good thing my mother never knew that, or I might have had real “issues” trying to “attain” to a trait I don’t come by naturally!) Wow… you…subscribed? Cool! Thank you!(looks like I need to do some catch-up reading on your blog to be up-to-speed… of course I have already spotted the causes for orphans on your front page ~ the moment I saw them, I instantly thought, “A-ha! This blogger has a heart for the same things that touch *God’s* heart: Orphans!” (and you already know how He “links” orphans+widows+the fatherless throughout the Book…) I’ll be back to read more, probably over the weekend! I love what I’ve read so far, and pray that my words will encourage you to continue “chasing hard after God” Ps. 42:1-style! Who knows who God will “coincidentally” pop into the path of your life? (of course we both know there is *no* such thing as “coincidences” w/God! Nor “serendipity”, either!) Just think how He must have been beaming as He listened in on your conversation on the plane that day…

    p.s. I agree with another commenter who admired how you linked two tough topics (religion/politics), as well as your response regarding praying for people in leadership (“prayer is…my ‘safety net’…” — Whoaaa! What a vast and glorious “net” — and a mostly-unseen net, at that!).

    Reply

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