The election is only one day away. We’ve studied the candidates, researched the issues, lamented our options and read politically charged articles on social media.
But have we prayed?
I’ve got to be honest. Prayer hasn’t been my first reaction. But, as Bruce Ashford and Billy Hallowell write, prayer is one of the most important tasks we have this election:
As we battle back and forth over the political situation, it’s easy to forget the importance of prayer. Ask yourself: when is the last time you prayed for President Barack Obama, or for members of Congress?
The Bible is clear; Christians are meant to seek God’s guidance for our leaders and those in authority. Yet, many of us are so consumed with fear, frustration, or even apathy that we’ve forsaken these instructions.
How, then, can we pray for the election? Here are five simple ways to pray for Election Day.
1. Pray for the candidates.
We don’t know the candidates’ hearts, but God does. Pray that if the candidates don’t know Jesus as Savior, that they would repent and believe in him for the first time. If they do know Jesus, pray that they would pursue him and allow him to transform their lives.
Here’s the hard part: Even pray for the candidate(s) you won’t vote for. The candidates’ greatest need isn’t a change in politics; it’s a change in heart. And who knows how God could transform the person’s life?
2. Pray for the election itself.
This season has been clouded with charges of rigged elections and/or voter suppression. Whether these accusations are true or not, let’s pray that the election process itself would be filled with integrity, honesty and clarity. Pray that there would be no doubt about who the winner is.
3. Pray that we would vote.
We have a say in who governs us. Have you ever considered how remarkable this is? Most humans throughout history have had no choice in who their leader is. Yet every four years, we get to pick ours.
This right to vote came at great cost. Our Founding Fathers sacrificed everything to give us this opportunity. Many of your friends or family members also sacrificed to protect this right.
Much blood has been spilled in defense of this right to vote. Let’s pray that it wouldn’t be spilled in vain.
4. Pray that we wouldn’t forget our true hope.
No matter who wins on Tuesday, these things will still be true:
- Jesus will still be King.
- Jesus will still have conquered death.
- Jesus will have still purchased us into a community called the church.
- And His church will still have a mission to reach the nations with the good news.
As John Piper says, “One day America and all its presidents will be a footnote in history, but God’s kingdom will never end.”
Whether your candidate wins or loses, our hope doesn’t rest in who occupies the Oval Office. Our hope rests in a resurrected Jewish Carpenter.
5. Pray that we would love one another.
All elections are contentious. The 2016 election has been outright divisive. Churches, families and communities have splintered over the decisions we will make on Tuesday. Conversation will be tense over many Thanksgiving tables this year.
But remember this: When Jesus gathered his twelve disciples, he called two surprising people (Matthew 10:1-4). He called Matthew, a tax collector of the evil Roman Empire the Jewish people rightfully despised. And, he called Simon the Zealot, a Jewish nationalist who wanted to burn the Roman Empire to the ground.
In any other situation, Simon and Matthew would have been enemies. But Jesus called both of them. He had them sit together on crowded fishing boats. He taught them both around campfires. And the Jesus they had in common was more important than the politics that sought to divide them.
The same must be true for us. Whether Republican or Democrat, #NeverTrump or #OnlyTrump, the Jesus we have in common must be more important the politics that seek to divide us.
So prepare. Vote. And make your voice heard. But before you do any of that, pray.