Quilt Us Together: Prayers for a New President

By Dan Clendenin

It feels like the American presidential election lasts forever, but at long last the country has elected Donald Trump as America’s next president. The official Inauguration Day isn’t until Friday January 20, 2017, but starting now we can re-orient our prayers in new and creative ways.

“Pray for the king, and for all those in authority,” Paul wrote to Timothy.

“None fights better for the king,” said Origen (185–254) — that is, not in the literal military sense, but by “forming a special army of piety by offering our prayers to God.”

To do that, here are two poem-prayers that I have found helpful.

The first poem is called “Crazy Quilt.” It’s by Jane Wilson Joyce, from her book Quilt Pieces (Frankfort, KY: Gnomon Press, second printing, 2009):

The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia
is cracked. California is splitting
off. There is no East or West, no rhyme,
no reason to it. We are scattered.
Dear Lord, lest we all be somewhere
else, patch this work. Quilt us
together, feather-stitching piece
by piece our tag-ends of living,
our individual scraps of love.

The second poem-prayer is by the Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933), and is called “Post-Election Day,” from his book Prayers for a Privileged People (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008).

You creator God
who has ordered us
in families and communities,
in clans and tribes,
in states and nations.

You creator God
who enacts your governance
in ways overt and
in ways hidden.
You exercise your will for
peace and for justice and for freedom.

We give you thanks for the peaceable order of
our nation and for the chance of choosing —
all the manipulative money notwithstanding.

We pray now for new governance
that your will and purpose may prevail,
that our leaders may have a sense
of justice and goodness,
that we as citizens may care about the
public face of your purpose.

We pray in the name of Jesus who was executed
by the authorities.

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