Patti Armstrong is an award-winning author and was the managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’ bestselling Amazing Grace series. Her latest books are: Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families and Dear God, You Can’t Be Serious. She has a B.A. in social work and an M.A. in public administration and worked in both those fields before staying home to work as a freelance writer. Patti and her husband live in North Dakota, where they are still raising the tail end of their 10 children.
Influential Catholic voices during the 2016 election season went from: You can’t vote for Donald Trump, to You must vote for Trump! When the field narrowed to Donald Trump — who backed his anti-abortion sentiments with pro-life advisers and promises to appoint a pro-life Supreme Court justice — he suddenly became a Catholic darling. Well, maybe that’s not the right word for Trump, but his Catholic support grew strong.
Appeals for prayers and fasting saturated email inboxes, memes, and the Catholic media. Whether we were asked to pray for “our country” or “ the elections” we knew that a Trump presidency was on everyone’s mind.
And then, on Nov. 8, Donald Trump defied pundits and polls and became what he has always said he is: a winner. He is now poised to become the 45th president of the United States.
Was it an answer to prayer that Trump went from the underdog on Election Day to winning with 289 electoral votes against Hillary Clinton’s 218? Regardless of whether you think it was an answer to prayer or not, and even if you did not want Trump to win, we have more reason than ever to pray for him now.
Just as Catholics do not believe our salvation is based on a single act of accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, neither can our country be saved through a single election. One man cannot save us, but God-Made-Man can. And so we must look to Jesus our King to guide all our presidents.
Politics is for this world and heaven for the next, but while we are here, politics matter. We should pray for all politicians in all parties, for they would not be in office if God did not allow it. For the many who prayed for Trump to win the election, this is no time to stop. Here are some intentions for the Trump presidency.
1. Unify our Country. Our country is fractured by issues of politics, race, and religion. The polarization did not disappear with the election. Pray for God’s grace that we heal and come together.
2. For God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Strong-willed politicians and businessmen often confuse their will with God’s.
3. Humility. Humility is the way to holiness while pride drives out virtues. A humble president desiring to be the servant of all will lead best. "Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all" (Mark 9:35).
4. Peace. Trump has been accused of incendiary language that will provoke war. May God lead him to promote peace between the United States and with other countries.
5. Our Economy and the Poor. Can a successful businessman run our country, strengthen the economy, and help the poor? We pray that he can.
6. The Catholic Church. The Church was a major player in the 2016 Election season with priests, bishops, and Catholic organizations speaking out on issues and candidates. May God unify our Church and may Catholics be a source of unity and reconciliation to heal divisions.
7. Wisdom. May Trump receive the wisdom of Solomon to direct his path, to balance charity with safety in immigration, and for guidance in all policies.
8. For Godly Friends, Advisors, and Appointments. A president is only as effective as the people he appoints. Trump will get blamed for the things that go wrong and face obstacles from those who work against him. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).
9. Pray for a Deeper Faith and Witness in God for Our Country and President. Despite all the prayers involved during the election, this opinion piece in the New York Times claims approvingly that a Trump presidency marks the decline of “religious conservatism” in American politics. It notes that he “certainly does not live by a religious conservatives’ agenda.” Another opinion from The New York Daily News celebrates that American society and the Republican right is becoming more secular and liberal. “Indeed, in 2016 the Republican Party nominated as its presidential candidate a trash-talking, thrice-married billionaire indifferent to religious-right issues who welcomed gay and lesbian support.” So pray.
10. For Trump’s Prolife Promises be Kept and for End to Abortion. May government money stop going to support Planned Parenthood and allowing unborn babies to be used in experiments. Lord we pray for healing for all those involved in the abortion industry and for a change of hearts so that the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will include unborn babies.