Every four years, as Fall settles in and things start to cool down, they also seem to heat up. This political season is no exception. Some of us know exactly how we will vote in the upcoming election. Some of us are still undecided. Many of us are unsettled with the candidates, tension, and issues. How should we pray as we consider our own vote? Let me encourage you to consider three things. The word ICE can help us as a guide for our prayers.
First, consider what the Bible says about the issues of the day. There are many topics of special interest to those who are followers of Jesus Christ. We must consider not just what we want or what is personally important. We must also consider what is important to God.
Pastor Doug Clay, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, wrote an excellent article titled Leading During an Election Season. He offers great guidance for the church. Some issues are more than political; they are spiritual. Pastor Clay encourages us to think about Biblical justice, religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage and family issues, and court appointments. All of these should factor into how we pray and vote.
We do well to keep in mind that our votes are not just for a person; we must also be mindful of a platform. I would encourage you to find a good voters guide. In Ohio, a resource like www.buckeyeballot.com is an excellent tool for knowing where candidates stand on important state and federal issues.
Second, we can pray for the candidates. In addition to Presidential candidates, we should pray for those running for federal, state, judicial, and local positions of authority. As you do the research, do more than pray about them. Let’s pray for the candidates. I found this guide from World Vision to be helpful. We can pray that candidates hearts will be softened and their eyes will be opened to the things that matter to God. Who knows but that the political tone in our country could be changed by a church that is praying for its political leaders.
Finally, let’s pray for the election, itself. In this season of pandemic, racial tension, and political turmoil, November 3rd is a critical date.
Pray for our Nation. Pray that the election will be conducted with integrity. Ask God that in places of tension, He would bring a spirit of peace.
Pray for unity. In times of division, it is imperative that God’s church be united. Even when we disagree on the issues of today, we can keep our focus on the things of eternity. I am finding that the place for me to start is to guard my own heart. No matter what candidates or issues prevail at the ballot box, I want my heart to stay right with God. Before I see someone’s party or politics, I need to remember that they are my brother or sister in Christ.
Pray for our witness as Christians. Once this election is over, that is when our lights must really shine. I want to make sure that I use my words with grace and truth today, so that I don’t lose my voice on things that are eternal with others in the future.
Pray that the Church will place their trust in God. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 3:20 that, “our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” When all of the ballots are counted, someone will win and someone will lose. Whether we are victorious or defeated, we must remember that God is still the same.
Several years ago, I was puzzled by a post I saw on Facebook. The person posting had been very invested in an election in another country. When the results came back, the candidate she was pulling for won the election. I can remember her celebratory post on Facebook announcing the winner, followed in all caps by, “GOD IS FAITHFUL!!” Here’s my question: If her candidate had not won, would God have still been faithful? Was God only good because the winner was the one she wanted? Would God’s eternal omnipotence have somehow been challenged if a different candidate had won?
Our Heavenly Father’s faithfulness is not determined by earthly outcomes. God is faithful, period. No matter what happens in any election, we can trust Him. Even when things do not go my way, He is good. “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is” (2 Timothy 2:13 NLT).
Let us commit ourselves to pray in the days leading up to November 3rd. Ask God to guide you regarding the Issues and Candidates; seek His blessing on this Election. And, as His people, let us never forget that our hope is in the one who is the same yesterday, today, and forever — Jesus Christ.