The day my kids convinced me to pray for President Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump prays during the National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 2 in Washington. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters) U.S. President Donald Trump prays during the National Prayer Breakfast Feb. 2 in Washington. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters) 

My 13-year-old said it one day as if it had become a daily topic in our family: “Dad, what did Donald Trump break today?” We chuckled, and I shared another statement or tweet from the president that I thought was classless or wrong.

This became the new normal for our family. Each day at dinner time, I would share the latest news, much of it critical of the commander in chief. Finally, one of my kids stopped me—I believe on this particular evening the subject was Donald Trump’s ugly Twitter attack on MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski—and said, “Dad, we get it. You don’t like the president.”

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In that moment, something clicked.

As the appointed politics expert in my family, I felt it my duty to share with my kids not only the news of the day but how to interpret that news. Now I realized what they really needed was a way to make sense of the day’s events through the lens of faith—and that if I didn’t change my tune, my kids might begin to dread what we valued most as a family: time spent together around the dinner table.

In my quest to be a good professor at home, I realized, I had failed to be a student of the Word.

In my quest to be a good professor at home, I realized, I had failed to be a student of the Word.

Prayer for our political leaders is something that Catholics do each Sunday at Mass: “For leaders around the world, that they might find ways to bring an end to war and violence, and promote peace and development for all nations, we pray to the Lord…” We passively listen to some variation on this petition and give our assent, but often we try not to think too specifically about our elected officials. We may consider politicians corrupt, self-serving, almost unworthy of our prayers. And that means a missed moment for many of us. In the Mass we refer to the pope and the local bishop by name. What if we occasionally added, during the prayers of the faithful, the names of our president and governor?

There is scriptural grounding for these prayers for worldly leaders during the Mass. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 offers perhaps the most explicit invitation to pray for political rulers. Paul tells his young apprentice, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” When I rediscovered this text, I knew I stood convicted.

At dinner that night, I explained to my family that I would change my tone. While I would still talk about the news of the day, I would also be more mindful of our duty to pray for our leaders.

I do not know President Trump. What I do know is that his job is exceedingly difficult, it is lonely and it carries a weight that no one but the president can grasp. His public statements about his religious beliefs indicate that his faith is young and in certain need of support.

The least I can do is pray for the man. It may be all that I can do, but as with all prayers, the results are often much deeper than we can understand.

For Donald Trump, we pray to the Lord.

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Henry George
3 months 3 weeks ago

I did not vote for Trump.
I did not vote for Hillary.
I did not vote for Obama
I did not vote for Romney
I did not vote for McCain.

I voted for people who were for helping reduce abortions,
for social safety nets, avoiding wars, helping improve our schools,
resolve the Immigration crisis, finding homes for the Homeless,
reform of the Justice/Prison system.

None of them won.

If Hillary won we would still have the homeless, North Korea
would still be developing longer range ICBM's, Health Care
would still be too expensive, the public schools would still
be in need of vast improvement and abortions would be
as common as ever...

Trump is the "Canary in the Mine".
A warning that the lower classes and the middle classes
are not going to put up with being exploited day in and day out.

I would have voted for Bernie as the least of three evils.

Jay Zamberlin
3 months 3 weeks ago

Oh, so that is how the "America crowd" absolves their support of the Democrat Party, with its aggressive and undying support for abortion, and by extension, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other pro abortion groups: just indicate that those policies actually "reduce" abortions. I don't know if we should laugh or cry at that logic. No wonder the Catholic world is in such grave condition.

Patty Bennett
3 months 3 weeks ago

I voted for Trump. He wasn't my first choice, as a matter of fact, he was my LAST choice among the many Republicans, but he's better than Clinton, who is absolutely disqualified because she supports the brutal slaughter of the innocents.
That being said, I DO pray for him, as I also pray for President Obama. I also pray for Clinton--both of them. After all, Jesus wants us to pray for everyone--no matter HOW we FEEL about them.

Patty Bennett
3 months 3 weeks ago

.

J Cosgrove
3 months 3 weeks ago

Mr. St. Pierre

You obviously have a bias. It is almost impossible to get at the truth today without reading several sources. Since the election and before we have been inundated with false narratives and actual fake stories. The latest being what happened in Charlottesville and the most egregious one the Russia story. There have been many others all trying to make Trump look bad

Before you report to your kids you have an obligation to get it right.

Jeanne Linconnue
3 months 3 weeks ago

Why do you believe that the author does not "get it right"? Has it occurred to you that perhaps you aren't "getting it right"?

As a result of my reading, research and study - from many, many sources, I would say that the author's discussions with his children portray Trump quite accurately. It is his role as a father to educate them, to make them aware of the many contradictions between Trump's positions and their faith's teachings. He needs to teach them how to READ rather than to rely on social media, 140 character tweets from a man who seems almost incapable of thinking in coherent full sentences. It seems likely that he can't read either, since he refuses to read the types of in-depth issues and policy papers that most presidents read (often as their "bedtime" reading) before making decisions, insisting that his daily briefings be done with powerpoint and bullet lists.. This father needs to teach his children to question everything they hear on the media - not to automatically trust the Sunday talking heads, nor the conservative radio show people. They need to know that 30 second sound-bite political ads need a whole lot of background research, and learn how to instantly detect false viral emails (mostly hate email sent by "conservatives", based on my email inbox. So-called "conservatives" who aren't really conservatives - they just think they are, and have embraced a man whose proposed policies are very frequently totally opposed to traditional Republican conservative ideas. They need to learn how to detect the more subtle bias of TV commentators. He needs to teach them the basics of doing original source research - something that will serve them very well for the rest of their lives.

I too read widely, from many sources, liberal and conservative, locally and nationally and internationally. Trump labels any criticism of him as "fake news". He labels facts that prove that his "alternative facts" are not 'facts" but wishful thinking (or even downright lies) as "false news". Many have bought into this false news narrative. Our country will not survive this presidency if Americans continue to be too lazy to read real news, in-depth policy discussions,, to research real facts and accept them even if they don't support their own biases. He needs to teach them about confirmation bias for that matter, and about the nuances of reading poll results - and how to locate and read the actual questions in polls, which are often written in a way to generate a preferred response. .

Mr. Trump's favorite news sources range from wild conspiracy theory sites, such as Alex Jones, to alt-right- like Breitbart, to Fox, which is more mainstream, but which edits and censors its news to an alarming degree to those of us who do our own research - not trusting either CNN or Fox and the many other sources of information out there to do our work for us.

J Cosgrove
3 months 3 weeks ago

Has it occurred to you that perhaps you aren't "getting it right"?

Always. That is why I keep on searching for what has happened. So we will have to disagree that Mr. St. Pierre has it right and giving his kids good analysis. I have a question for you. What is your assessment of the press and the Democratic Party's obsession with Russia.

If this was a false narrative, then maybe there were others too.

Another false narrative that is only a week old is "What caused the riot in Charlottesville?" Why did the police force the physical mingling of the two sides each of whom hated the other and each had weapons? Who gave the order?

You obviously don't like Trump. I was never an advocate of him either but have watched what has happened since the election and found the misrepresentation by the press and this site incredible. If you want to politely discuss the myriad events since November it could add to everyone's assessment, one based on facts.

Maybe Mr. st. Pierre could list the criticisms he had of the president so we can evaluate his insights and whether he was justified in what he told his family. There was another recent similar anti Trump article here at America that only mentioned trivial things. Mr. St. Pierre does the same thing by bringing up Mika Brzezinski, a partisan media critic of the president, and Trump's seemingly unnecessary and crude response to her attacks. Unpresidential in manner but not an example of bad policy that could harm the country which should be our main concern.

Jeanne Linconnue
3 months 3 weeks ago

I continue to pray for America, that our country (and the rest of the world) will be saved from irrevocable harm due to the actions of the current president. He has already been responsible for harming our nation, but we can still recover from it. What is frightening, is that there is a long way to go if he remains in office, and his learning curve as far as mastering the art of governing (as opposed to being a dictator in the family real estate development firm) is not only excessive, it seems that the flaws in his personality are simply too ingrained to be overcome at his age.

It seems to be up to the generals - they have a bigger job than ever.

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