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What Prayer Can Do: Healing Our Divisions

Political disagreements were making her family get-togethers tense. A change in focus proved to be the solution.

Kristy Dewberry with husband Don; photo Shevaun Williams

“Promise me you won’t bring up politics,” I said to my husband, Don, as we left for Christmas dinner at my sister’s.

“I’ve already promised!” Don said.

For most of our marriage, Don and I had been on the same page politically. But lately we weren’t even in the same book, and Don never missed a chance to voice his opinions. I knew it wasn’t just Don and me with this problem. The whole country seemed spoiling for a fight.

Don kept his word, and dinner went well—until my sister made a comment about the news. Her husband chimed in. Don responded. In seconds, harsh words were flying.

“Isn’t it nice that we can vote for anyone we want?” I said nervously when there was a break in the action. Everyone settled down—or more accurately, returned to their corners. I spent the rest of the dinner feeling tense, waiting for them to go at it again. God, help me find a way to bring our family back together, I asked on the way home.

I waited for God to give me a brilliant idea. And waited. As I was making breakfast shortly after New Year’s, the topic was still on my mind. Maybe avoiding politics is the best we can do.

Don looked up from his newspaper at the table. “I think we should start praying together every day,” he said. I agreed to give it a try. The tension between us disappeared when we focused our attention on God, and we both felt good asking him to give wisdom to our leaders. A few weeks after we started our new prayer habit,

Don suggested we invite the rest of the family to join in by phone. It was a great success. One afternoon, Don and I were driving when a news brief came on the radio. I braced myself for Don to offer some comment that I couldn’t let go. Instead, he said, “We should spread the Gospel of God, not the gospel of politicians.” And switched off the radio.

It’s not that Don and I have abandoned our political beliefs. We just don’t let them come between us. God is healing our family, reminding us that we’re part of a story that’s bigger than our current political divisions. I know he’ll heal our nation too.

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