Monday, November 5, 2012

My Prayer for Election Day

I have received numerous requests, invitations and exhortations to pray for the outcome of this election. Most of the time these requests come with an expectation--stated or not--as to what that outcome should look like. I've heard time and again that this is the most important election in the history of our nation, quite a statement considering that this is the 57th presidential election in this nation's history. I wonder how many previous elections were deemed at the time to be "the most important"? Do we have a false sense of our own significance?

Leaving that question aside for the moment, I do believe that we as followers of Christ should pray for this election, but not necessarily in the way that many may think. I do believe there are important issues at stake and I certainly have my own opinion on most of them. I know how I would like to see the results turn out Tuesday evening. I also know that many of my friends and acquaintances fervently hope for exactly the opposite outcomes. And in many cases we would all say that our result is more in accordance with God's will. Since elections cannot end in a tie, one side will be disappointed in every instance. Tuesday night (or perhaps later in case of a close race), some people in this country will go to sleep rejoicing that "good has triumphed" while others will go to sleep grieving over the demise of our nation. A bit melodramatic really, considering that the God of the universe has been known to work through some pretty amazing circumstances ranging all over the spectrum. Do we really think that God's will may be thwarted by the outcome of our little election? Can God not take into account our choices and still transform them to bring about their kingdom on earth?

So here, in broad strokes, is my prayer for election day 2012:

I pray that regardless of the outcome, we as a nation will realize that our strength lies in our unity (not uniformity) and that the road forward lies in working together, not in holding tightly to our precious agendas.

I pray that those who celebrate their victories would remember that many are grieving over those same results and act with grace and dignity.

I pray that we as a nation would learn humility and turn from arrogance and pride.

I pray that we would learn again to converse civilly and reasonably.

I pray that we would realize that this nation is not going to hell in a shopping cart just because any particular candidate gets elected. The world will not end on Wednesday just because B.O. or M.R. has won the election. Let's stop pretending otherwise and dump the hyperbole.

I pray in particular that those who call themselves by the name of Christ would demonstrate love in word and deed, not only to those we agree with but even more to those we disagree with. We dishonor Christ when we speak words of hatred and demean other humans who are created equally in God's image.

I pray that even as we all long for economic recovery and better days ahead, that we would remember that God's blessing does not reside in our financial or economic well-being. May we actively care for those who are in need as Christ has taught us and demonstrated to us.

In summary, I pray that God's kingdom will come and God's will shall be done here on earth as it is in heaven, affirming that this can happen whatever the outcome of any political race.

I get the sense, at least from Facebook, that many are anxious about the future of this country. Although I hardly consider myself an optimist, I don't feel that same anxiety. I trust that God's will shall prevail no matter what the results of the election are. God's kingdom is so much bigger than the United States and the outcome of our elections. I find great assurance in that. So yes, I'll be watching the results Tuesday night, and I hope to have some reasons to rejoice and probably will have others to grieve. But in the end, God's kingdom will not be hindered by this and I shall continue to pray and act that God's will may be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

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