It’s not unusual to hear a religious leader remind congregants to pray for the POTUS. But it is a bit unusual to know exactly how the POTUS prepared himself spiritually for each day. That’s why churchgoers across the nation are snapping up Joshua DuBois’ new book, “The President’s Devotional” in which he details 365 of the most compelling inspirational messages he sent daily to President Barack Obama over a six year period. The devotionals include words sent during challenging circumstances, including the day of the Sandy Hook shootings.
DuBois, also Obama’s spiritual advisor and a religion columnist at The Daily Beast, spent much of yesterday visiting local mega churches, including the well-attended Trinity United Church of Christ and Apostolic Church of God, where congregants were able to chat him up on working and praying for and with Obama.
“I think folks are seeing the book for what it is: a daily way to grow closer to God,” said DuBois, 31, who, after working on Obama’s 2008 campaign, ran Obama’s faith-based office until earlier this year. “I think this book is breaking down a lot of barriers. People can read this regardless of where they are on the political spectrum.”
And for the conservatives out there – relax – God is a-political. Only a scrooge could argue with the idea of starting your day off with peace and calm. And, the book includes interesting pop culture intersections. DuBois, for example, invokes both Nina Simone and Abraham Lincoln when helping the sitting president – and the average Joe – navigate difficult situations.
“Overall I think Republicans, Democrats and folks across the board are realizing that we all need to start our days disconnected from politics,” said DuBois, who appears today on “Windy City Live.” He’s not some high profile minister, rather, the Boston University and Princeton University grad got this volunteer gig (writing the devotionals, that is) in a way familiar to most Protestants: the Lord put it upon his heart.
“One day I was praying for him by myself and I felt a calling,” he said. “I thought ‘Perhaps I should reach out to him and send him a word.’ I didn’t think I was the most qualified. I wasn’t the pastor of some mega church. I drafted a brief email and tried to encourage him, and I sent it off. In a few minutes he wrote me back and said ‘This is exactly what I needed today; can you send them every morning?’“ – Adrienne Samuels Gibbs