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The former presidential candidate and longtime Charisma reader opens up about her charismatic roots.
Charisma: We’ve been told you’re a Charisma reader—we’re honored. How did you first hear about the magazine?
Bachmann: Maybe from church. My husband, Marcus, and I had gone to a small, Spirit-filled church—maybe 50 to 60 members. We were about 19. In ’75, things were really heating up spiritually across the country. What we appreciated about Charisma more than anything is you had a synopsis of current events from a biblical point of view. We all had Charisma subscriptions. It was just a basic for all of us.
Charisma: How did you first come to know the Lord?
Bachmann: I was born into a family of Lutherans and our parents took us to church every week. They were faithful. I’m sure the gospel was preached from our pulpit, but I didn’t get it. All I saw was the tradition. I didn’t understand that whole part about faith. In high school I joined a prayer meeting, and my friends there knew I didn’t know the Lord, personally. I was a good girl, but it didn’t matter; I still didn’t know the Lord. I still had a wicked heart and I needed Him. So on Nov. 1, 1972, I bowed my knee with three friends. The Holy Spirit led us, and we confessed our sins before the Lord and turned and went a new direction—that was it. I went home that night and I said to the Lord, “I don’t know what happened, but I’m a completely different person. Whatever I become, I will radically abandon myself and my life to You and it’s Your plan now.”
Charisma: You’re the first presidential candidate who went to law school at Oral Roberts University. How did a Lutheran girl from Minnesota end up at one of the landmarks of the charismatic movement?
Bachmann: My husband and I were Spirit-filled and went to a Spirit-filled church. We agreed it was important to have a Christian background in my law school education, but there really wasn’t anything out there. In college we’d seen a film series by Dr. Francis Schaeffer that challenged us to have a biblical worldview, to see that God is the God of creation and every discipline—and that includes law. Oral Roberts University Law School was going to be established as a law school that would be teaching biblical worldviews, so I went to the school. It had zero accreditation, so it was an act of faith to go, but I was really more interested in getting a biblical worldview of the law and a good education. And it was a phenomenal education. Our professors also wanted to pour themselves out for the Lord, and so I’m thrilled that I made that decision to go to the school. That law school ultimately was shut down but became Regent School of Law. I think I’m the first member of Congress to have graduated from Regent Law School.
Charisma: We don’t often get the opportunity to ask a candidate this: How would you say you hear from God?
Bachmann: I’m a deep believer in the power of prayer. Prayer is simply communication with the Lord. It’s pouring out and expressing our heart, our soul, to the Lord and then listening to what He wants to speak to us. I have found God to be very faithful in my life and I’m grateful for that. And that’s why I think prayer is foundational, because that’s how we stay in communication with the Lord.
Charisma: So what’s He saying to you in this season of life, as unique as it is?
Bachmann: To be faithful. When I went into Congress the one thing I needed to do was not only humble myself, but to stay in a continual state of confession of sins before the Lord. So I daily confess my sins before Him. I also actively try to turn away from sin. And with His help, that’s the only way that it can be done. His power and His right arm are enough to hold and sustain and keep me on the path that He’s chosen.
Charisma: Do you ever feel overwhelmed with your calling?
Bachmann: Any challenge in life can seem overwhelming. The most intellectually taxing thing I’ve ever done has to be when I was a stay-at-home mother. I think there’s nothing more powerful, nor more eternal than being a parent. Our five biological children know the Lord. As far as my husband and I are concerned, there is no greater legacy that we’ll ever have than bringing our children up to know the Lord and to walk according to His ways.
Charisma: What would you say to the stay-at-home mom, the person in the marketplace or the student who wants to make a difference in their world?
Bachmann: Again, it’s about being faithful wherever you are. When we are faithful with little, then the Lord entrusts us with more. I firmly believe that we should never despise small beginnings. God brilliantly designs challenges. He gift-wraps them because it’s during those times that our character is forged. If we’re faithful, there’s something beyond that the Lord has for us.
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