The election is only days away. We’ve studied our candidates, researched the issues, been bombarded with political advertisements and read politically charged posts on social media.
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 should be one of our top priorities:
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 2020 election? Here are five simple ways to pray for Election Day.
1. Pray for the candidates.
When you fill out your ballot, you’ll observe dozens of candidates — from those running for President to those running for your local school board. We don’t know the candidates’ hearts, but God does. Pray that if they don’t know Jesus as Savior, that they would repent and believe in him. If they do know Jesus, pray that they would pursue him, living and serving in a way consistent with their calling as believers.
And don’t just pray for the candidates you’ll vote for; pray also for those 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 someone’s life through your prayers?
The candidates’ greatest need isn’t a change in politics; it’s a change in heart.
2. Pray for the election itself.
Every election is stressful, but 2020 may take the cake. This election season has been clouded with concerns about COVID, mail-in ballots, rigged elections and/or voter suppression. Let’s pray that the election process itself would be filled with integrity, honesty, safety and clarity. Pray that there would be no doubt about who the winners are.
3. 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.
4. Pray that we would keep the election in perspective.
We often grow 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 ballot box.
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 says, “One day America and all its presidents will be a footnote in history, but God’s kingdom will never end.” And though our government may not enact policies we agree with, Jesus assured us that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against [the church]” (Matthew 26:18).
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.
The Jesus we have in common must be more important the politics that seek to divide us.
5. Pray that we would love one another.
The 2020 election has 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. No matter which bubbles you circle in on Election Day, the Jesus we have in common must be more important the politics that seek to divide us.
So prepare. Vote. Make your voice heard. But before you do any of that, pray.