Tuesday , April 16 2024
The former "Pastor-in-Chief" offers 365 passages shared with the president.

Book Review: ‘The President’s Devotional: The Daily Readings That Inspired President Obama’ by Joshua DuBois

This is not your usual book on spirituality. The President’s Devotional: The Daily Readings That Inspired President Obama is a unique book combining relevant scripture excerpts, quotes on pertinent topics from ancient to modern sources, essays, and the readings and prayers the author shared with President Obama.

Rev. Joshua DuBois served in The White House during Barack Obama’s first term, as Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. DuBois was named President Obama’s “Pastor-in-Chief” by Time magazine, although the President often referred to him as “The Faith Guy.”

Observing the President’s efforts to manage stress, Rev. DuBois began to email a relevant daily scripture for President Obama to read each morning. In his personal essays that open each month’s section of The President’s Devotional, DuBois shares his experiences as he accompanied the President throughout his first term. DuBois proved to have the faith, an astounding grasp of scriptural references, and sensitivity to provide appropriate and relevant scripture passages as needed, whether for Obama’s speeches, comforting families, or standing up to enemies.

Gathered in this book, in a format allowing the reader to enjoy one reading per day, the 365 passages in The President’s Devotional can be read and re-read in any circumstance. It is structured for easy reading with dated entries for every day of the year. In between, DuBois offers a longer monthly essay. These are the most powerful and poignant passages in the book, giving more than a glimpse into the challenges of the President’s first term, and told in a way that puts us into the situations.

The result is a special book, with the thread of spirituality drawing the reader in, as the author shares insight into many of the trying times and difficult events in Obama’s first administration. DuBois was at the President’s side, aiding Obama through challenges that created emotional and spiritual difficulties for him, as they do for most of us.

Many people gain strength and clarity from spiritual writings and from taking time to reflect. This will be a sensational gift book for special holidays, including Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. For example, this prayer, sent to the President, could apply to any of us on a difficult day:

Dear Lord. Thank you for your consistent protection. I have not had the easiest days, but I am still standing. And I know it’s because of you. Amen.

The President’s Devotional is equally relevant to those who are not particularly spiritual. The essays add a note of grace and humility to our thoughts. It is inspiring to know even people in high-powered roles still return to their faith to gain the courage to make critical decisions. Time after time in these essays, we also witness President Obama’s faith helping him summon the needed strength to handle difficult conversations, decisions and duties. A particularly touching essay by DuBois is his observation when accompanying Obama to speak with parents at Sandy Hook School after the recent tragedy there. It reveals a great deal about the President’s courage and compassion in the face of tragedy.

It is these powerful stories that make The President’s Devotional an equally moving reading experience for secular as well as religious readers, and for politicians and leaders around the world, who bear many burdens that cannot always be carried alone.

“Dear God, remind me of the beauty of your creation, as vested in me. Fill me with a sense of possibility this day, and let me do good work. Amen”

About Helen Gallagher

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