Friday, July 22, 2016
A Prayer of Christ-Loving Voters
Dear Lord, our Creator, God
We come to You as Your children, living in this time and place in Your universe, right now, in the United States, facing yet another election season, with difficult choices to make.
Perhaps many of Your faithful children have already been approaching Your throne of mercy to find grace to help our need for direction, solace, and encouragement. If we are acting on what we believe, You have received many prayers such as this from us, as we realize that our only hope is in You.
Yet, considering the attitudes many of us take, at least in the public square, it doesn't seem like we're behaving like people who do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with You. And maybe that's because we're not coming to You with our concerns for our nation as You invite us to. You tell us in Your Word that You delight to hear our pleas, because our prayers indicate our dependence upon You, and remind us that You alone can work for our good and Your glory. We may be Your agents of change upon this planet, but the extent to which we can represent Your change is based on the degree to which we allow Your Holy Spirit to reveal Your truths to us, and produce Your desired fruit in each of our hearts and lives:
Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.
Perhaps it's because we're Americans, proud citizens of a nation with a history of self reliance and individualism, that we often forget to let You lead us. We invoke Your name in our pledges and civic pageantry, but then we often seek to work out our own ways for our own ends, with Your truths as a metric of mortal morality instead of the very source of eternal life. We believe what we want to believe, we listen to whomever we want to listen, we fear what mortals tell us to fear, and we enjoy what mortals tell us to enjoy.
We forget that prosperity is not guaranteed simply by hard work. We forget that to whom much is given, much is required. We don't love our neighbors nearly as much as we love ourselves. And often, it doesn't seem as though we love You more than we love ourselves.
We confess that sin can seem relative to us. We confess that Your holy standards aren't necessarily ours. We confess that with the easy hype and rabid rhetoric which consumes our politics, it's simpler to trust in platitudes and promises made by those who want our vote, rather than Your promise that walking Your path of life isn't going to be easy. The more we read Your Word, we learn of the many warnings You give those who would follow You; warnings of oppression by people who don't love You; warnings against being gullible towards people who say they love You, but don't; warnings about being seduced by the pleasures of this world that are only temporary.
Indeed, perhaps it's because we're Americans, and proud of our democratic heritage, we think we can vote our way out of problems, peril, poverty, or persecution. Yet You tell us that affliction is part of the call for people who claim Your holy Son, Jesus Christ, as their Savior. We tend to balk at things that make us uncomfortable, or may even kill us, yet Christ took sin itself on His shoulders for Your people. He knew agony that we will never know, thanks entirely to Your mercy, and Your promise to never give Your people what we deserve because of our sins, failings, shortcomings, and hardened hearts.
We thank You for calling us to Yourself. We thank you that You have given us the promise of eternal life in Heaven with You. We thank You for the promise of Your Holy Spirit to be here with each of us, now, in real time, to give us comfort and guidance. Thank You that when we avail ourselves of Your holy resources, You provide what we need, when we need it, and in the amount that we need. Please help us to realize that what You provide might not match what we expect, and might not come when we expect it. Nevertheless, please help us remember that Your grace does not expire, or run out. Thank you that Your love for us will never end.
Yet here on this Earth that You have created, many other things will end. Peace eventually ends, as do wars. Wealth is seldom permanent. Nations rise and fall. Political parties come and go. Companies are launched and go bankrupt. Technology is invented and becomes obsolete. Illnesses come and go. You even tell us in Your Word that You alone enthrone kings, and You dethrone them. So please remind us, again, Lord, that Your love for us will never end. Spare us, O Lord, from despairing for things that have never been designed to last. And strengthen us, O Lord, to be advocates for those things that will last forever.
Your name, O Lord, will last forever. Your Love, O Lord, will last forever. Your glory, O Lord, will last forever. Even if we can't see it now, it exists as surely and as strong as it ever has. Even more so than anything any political party or politician could ever hope to achieve for themselves, or for our country.
So help us to remain strong in You, dear Lord. Help us not to waiver in temptation. Help us not to become impatient. Since we cannot possibly know what You have planned for our country, help us to remain confident in what we do know: That You want us to remain faithful to You.
And as we are faithful to You, O holy Father, You will be to us ever more faithful, since although it is not in our nature to be faithful, yet faithfulness is part of Your character. And You will deliver us in Your time. You will be merciful to us. May people around us see us hope in You, and be themselves convicted and transformed by Your Holy Spirit. Despite the challenges facing us individually and as a nation, help us to be steadfast in You, and You alone, being salt and light, and doing the religion You describe as being pure and faultless: Caring for the disenfranchised, and keeping ourselves from evil.
May this be so, dear Lord, even now, even this election season, and through whatever comes, through Your sovereign providence, we pray:
In the holy, righteous, everlasting name of Your resurrected Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ!