Washington, DC – Much has been written on social media in recent weeks about praying for our country and the upcoming election. Some of the comments have been along the lines of “Since Trump moved the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he must be a God-fearing man.” Another went something like, “Those monsters are baby-killers! Prayers for this election”. The best one of all: “Trump’s payroll tax cut will gut social security and hurt the elderly. We need to pray and pray hard”. Have you seen similar comments?
The problem with prayers like these is they miss the point of prayer entirely. Although God loves His children perfectly, and sometimes grants our sillier requests, the point of prayer is ultimately to align our hearts with God’s plans to fulfill the objectives of Heaven on Earth. Instead of praying for my preferred candidate to win, I should pray for wisdom that God may show me for whom He would have me to vote.
Furthermore, prayers like the ones above tend to diminish the sovereignty of God. Ask any Christian on the street if they believe God is in control of everything, and they 100% will answer “Yes and Amen,” but do our prayers reflect that belief?
Do we believe God is in control of everything, including the election? Will God allow the most powerful man in the world to be chosen by chance? Absolutely not. Romans 13:1 states clearly: “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
So, I pray for my favorite candidate to win simply because I think he’s the best man for the job, then I am really asking God to let me choose our leadership rather than trusting His divine plan. In this case, God – the Maker of the stars – is reduced down to a genie in a bottle that lives to serve the wishes of man. Those types of prayer are an effort to bend the arm of God to fulfill our self-righteous ideas.
Is the conclusion that Christians should not pray about elections, our nation, or our leaders? Of course not, however, we have been given a model prayer to follow, and any of our daily prayers can be tailored to fit this model:
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
So how should the Christian pray for this election? It starts by recognizing the “Father who is in Heaven” already knows how the election will end. Then, the Christian must surrender his/her will to God’s sovereign knowledge and purpose in those results (“THY kingdom come. THY will be done…”).
Next, the Christian must find the humility to say, “God, however the election ends, I will trust you for my daily needs and sustenance. Set my heart right, and please forgive me for my sins”. Finally, the Christian must recognize that the ultimate purpose of the results of this election will be to bring glory to God Himself.
Perhaps that glory comes as greater religious liberty for US churches, or maybe it comes in the form of justice for churches that will be persecuted for the next four years. Only time will tell. However, if we are to “pray, and pray hard,” then let it be with a proper perspective and a clean heart. Let our prayers not be made to fulfill our own goals but to align ourselves with the master plan that God has already written.
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