Today is the 2018 mid-term election. We’ve studied our candidates, researched the issues, been bombarded with political advertisements and read politically charged articles.
But have we prayed?
To be honest, prayer hasn’t been my first reaction. But, as Bruce Ashford and Billy Hallowell wrote in a prior election, prayer is one of the most important tasks we have:
As we battle back and forth over the political situation, it’s easy to forget the importance of prayer.…
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 four 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 your local 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: Pray also for the candidates you won’t vote for. Their 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?
Our hope doesn’t rest in who occupies Capitol Hill. Our hope rests in a resurrected Jewish Carpenter.
2. Pray that we would vote.
We have a say in deciding the men and women who govern us. This is a remarkable privilege. Most humans throughout history have had no choice in who their leader is. Yet every election cycle, we get to pick ours.
This right to vote came at great cost. Our Founding Fathers sacrificed everything to give us this opportunity, and many of your friends or family members also sacrificed to protect this right.
Let’s pray that we wouldn’t take this voting privilege for granted.
3. Pray that we would keep the election in perspective.
We often get fearful when we think about the future. What might happen if a certain candidate or party wins? What if they enact policies we object to? Candidates and political parties often stoke these fears in an effort to get us to vote a particular way.
Indeed, candidates and policies do matter. We should be informed about the issues, filter our opinions through a biblical framework and make wise, educated decisions at the polls.
Yet no matter who wins today, 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 once said, “One day America and all its presidents will be a footnote in history, but God’s kingdom will never end.”
Whether your candidates win or lose, our hope doesn’t rest in who occupies Capitol Hill. Our hope rests in a resurrected Jewish Carpenter.
Whether Republican or Democrat, the Jesus we have in common must be more important the politics that seek to divide us.
4. Pray that we would love one another.
The 2018 mid-term elections have been particularly contentious. Candidates and their supporters have villainized their opponents, and they’ve employed vicious rhetoric. As a result, families and communities have splintered over the decisions we will make today. Conversation may be more tense than usual at 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 Roman Empire the Jewish people rightfully despised, and 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 invited them to sit together on crowded fishing boats. He taught them both around campfires. And the Jesus they had in common became more important than the politics that sought to divide them.
The same must be true for us. Whether Republican or Democrat, 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.