Each morning for the past five years, before most of his aides have arrived at the White House, President Barack Obama has read a devotional sent to his BlackBerry, weaving together biblical scripture with reflections from literary and cultural figures.
Joshua DuBois, an informal spiritual adviser to Obama who ran the White House faith-based office until earlier this year, writes the devotionals for Obama and has compiled many of them in a forthcoming book, “The President’s Devotional,” to be released Oct. 22 by HarperOne.
A look at some of the devotionals, abridged for space, that have started the president’s day:
HOLDING OUR PEACE
“But the people held their peace and answered him not a word, for the king’s commandment was, ‘Do not answer him.'” (2 Kings 18:36).
Dear God, give me judiciousness in response today. Help me discern when to speak and when to hold my peace. In the end, I know that the victory will be yours, and mine. Amen.
AS HE WHO SERVES
“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called “benefactors.” But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.'” (Luke 22:24-26).
Dear God, constantly renew within me a servant’s heart. Let me be last and least, before I yearn to be first. Amen.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou.
“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Corinthians 8:9).
Dear God, let me put first things first — not only my own “rightness,” but my love for you and for others. Amen.
“Today we must balance the tears of sorrow with the tears of joy. Mix the bitter with the sweet in death and life. Jackie as a figure in history was a rock in the water, creating concentric circles and ripples of new possibility. He was medicine. He was immunized by God from catching the diseases that he fought. The Lord’s arms of protection enabled him to go through dangers seen and unseen, and he had the capacity to wear glory with grace. Jackie’s body was a temple of God. An instrument of peace. We would watch him disappear into nothingness and stand back as spectators, and watch the suffering from afar. The mercy of God intercepted this process Tuesday and permitted him to steal away home, where referees are out of place, and only the supreme judge of the universe speaks.” — The Rev. Jesse Jackson, eulogy for Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in major league baseball in 1947.
Dear Lord, give us a Jackie Robinson spirit. Let us blaze new trails with dignity, determination and grace. And God, like Jackie, immunize us from catching the very diseases we fight. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9).
Dear God, grant me the energy for a new struggle. Let me never grow weary in doing good. Amen.