Former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort turned himself in to federal authorities this morning. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of Manafort on 12 counts, including “conspiracy against the United States,” moves the inquiry into Russian interference in last year’s election to a new level.
Washington woke up to this stunning news after a weekend of anticipation. Will former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn be next? How will President Trump attempt to distract the nation from the news as the walls continue to close in?
I could try to guess what will come next, or scream about FOX News not devoting much time to the breaking news this morning, but instead I feel called to prayer.
We face an uncertain time, and a critical test of our democratic norms. Will wrongdoers face judgment, or will they use their powers to grant themselves a reprieve?
In recent months, I’ve kept coming back to Leviticus 19:15: "You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor."
A strong system of justice makes up the foundation of the good society we’re called to co-create with God. The Special Counsel is another test of whether our nation will uphold our commitment to equal justice under the law, a principle rooted in biblical values.
I believe there are two distinct ways we can pray for the Special Counsel’s investigation.
The first set of prayer requests are for a successful investigation into the many issues related to Russia and the election. As we’ve seen in the past year, the alleged crimes and cover-ups have generated a complex web of deception. Here are the investigations we know about:
- Russian interference in our 2016 election
- Collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian agents
- Trump associates’ ties to Russia
- Trump and associates’ financial interests in Russia
- The president obstructing justice by firing FBI Director James Comey
On each of these wide-ranging investigations, we need to pray for truth, accountability, and fair rendering of justice. President Trump is not above the law. Some political commentators have speculated that Trump has considered firing Special Counsel Mueller to stop the investigation. If this happens, it will be up to Congress to act. For Congress to act, the American public will have to demand that our elected representatives in Washington keep the investigation alive. I realize that’s a lot of hypotheticals — the main point is that we can’t grow weary in seeing each of these issues being resolved.
The second prayer request is for each member of the Special Counsel’s team. As Christians, we are instructed not just to pray for systemic issues, but for individual people. The Special Counsel team is not an amorphous blob — it is a set of veteran prosecutors.
Pray for them by name: Zainab Ahmad, Greg Andres, Rush Atkinson, Michael Dreeben, Kyle Freeny, Andrew Goldstein, Adam Jed, Robert Mueller, Lisa Page, Elizabeth Prelogar, James Quarles, Jeannie Rhee, Brandon Van Grack, Andrew Weissmann, Aaron Zebley, Aaron Zelinsky.
These men and women will face the full force of President Trump and his allies in office and the media in the coming days and weeks. The team and our elected leaders need to know that the American people have their back, and that we support them. One way we can express that is through prayer.
I spent my Sunday afternoon creating this guide to help equip fellow people of faith. I hope you will join me in praying for our democracy, and might find this new resource useful.
We read in the Psalms that “The Lord loves righteousness and justice.” May we love righteousness and justice as much as the Lord we follow, and pray we see both in our our nation.