On January 20, George W. Bush will take the oath of office for his second term as president of the United States. After a narrow victory in 2000, he won by a clear majority last year. His re-election, I'm sure, is an answer to prayer by millions of Christians who believe that "righteousness exalts a nation" (Prov. 14:34, NKJV).
Last May I had the privilege, along with seven other religious journalists, of interviewing President Bush in the White House. Each of us had the opportunity to ask one question. When it was my turn, I asked about the election and then added that I pray for him and his wife every day.
The president paused, looked directly at me and replied that he always appreciates it when people tell him they pray for him and that he never takes their prayers for granted. He added that previously when he would shake the hands of well-wishers after a speech they would say, "Good luck, Mr. President." But more recently about one in three said, "We pray for you, Mr. President."
For the inauguration, we decided to publish an updated version of our best-selling book The Faith of George W. Bush, which we copublished with Penguin Group (USA). It has sold approximately a half million copies and was on one of the New York Times best-sellers lists--a first for us.
We are humbled by the success of the book, not just because it shows that the author, Stephen Mansfield, did an outstanding job, but also because it propagates the story of a man whose life was changed when he came to faith in Christ.
We would like to send a copy of this book as a blessing to men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces. If you know of a serviceman or servicewoman who might be interested in receiving one, send his or her full name and APO/FPO (Air/Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office) address to Christian Life Missions, our nonprofit partner, at P.O. Box 952248, Lake Mary, FL 32795-2248.
I wrote a prayer for the new edition I hope readers will use to pray daily for the president and his family. I've included it here so you can begin this tradition with the new year.
Our dear heavenly Father, We come to you in the name of Jesus on behalf of our president, George W. Bush. We thank you that he is a man who fears You and who seeks You for wisdom as he leads our great nation during one of the most turbulent times in our history.
We pray that Your Holy Spirit gives him both the ability to discern Your will and the courage to carry it out. We pray that He surrounds him with people who will encourage and support him. We ask that He direct the president's decisions each day.
Please protect President Bush and his family from harm. Surround them with Your peace and love. May the president always trust in You and make every effort to fulfill the responsibilities of his office in a way that pleases You.
We pray this in the name of Your Son. Amen.
One thing about the president I particularly admire is his habit of reading the Bible on a regular basis. It's a commitment I share. In fact, I make a pledge every few years to read through the entire Bible as a matter of discipline.
To encourage you to do the same, we've included a weekly "Bible-Reading Guide" on page 72 of this issue that, if followed, will help you read the entire Bible by the end of 2005. Reading the selections in the order indicated will provide variety and prevent you from getting bogged down in the difficult passages.
Then, if you write us at the end of the year, we will send you a certificate of completion suitable for framing. I did this several years ago and was encouraged by how many not only did the Bible reading but also wrote in for the certificate.
If you haven't made a habit of reading the Scriptures daily in the past, you'll be amazed how much benefit you receive from regular study. Don't be put off by the lack of a good Bible. The Bible-study section on page 68, which describes the various translations available, will help you find the Bible that's right for you.
We're excited about the new year. We believe that a lot of good things, which I'll tell you about in upcoming issues, are in store for our ministry. I pray this is a good year for you and your family as well.
Stephen Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma.